Chancery: good or evil?

I was prompted to write an article about the clerical office due to the undeserved contempt for bureaucratic language expressed by many authors. The reason for this attitude is the lack of understanding of the meaning and purpose of the clerk, its application where the office is inappropriate, or the inability to use it. Like any tool, the clerk requires certain skills and experience. As with any tool, clerical is good in applied fields and unacceptable, for example, in the entertainment industry and political propaganda.

In the article "10 old and new dogmas in copywriting, which can be challenged," Alexander Gridasov calls the office of the inevitable evil, at the same time recognizes the need for the clerk in correspondence with officials.

In the hope that the opinion is not a copywriter, but the clerk will be interested in the "confident user" of Texterra readers, I will try to make a number of assumptions about the effectiveness of the bureaucratic language. Assumptions - because in the practice of Internet campaigns aimed at sales, the clerical in its pure form almost does not occur, respectively, there is no reason for unequivocal conclusions. Private business correspondence does not count: its results are known only to its authors, and such cases do not fall into public space for obvious reasons.

In the commentary to this article, I attempted to give a free definition to the clerk and explain it with an example:

"With proper use, it is a powerful tool, sharpened to provide the most accurate and concise presentation of information (it also allows camouflaging information with the same success). With illiterate use, poor bureaucratic creativity. An example from the unforgettable Nora Gal: why not write “we are fighting for an increase in academic performance.” I am not thrilled with the second phrase, nevertheless the sign of identity is irrelevant here. “Trying” is an individual approach. “We are fighting for ...” is a collective one. The difference is fundamental, but without this “take measures” would have sounded better. “Take measures” - study the problem from all points of view and evaluate solutions. “Trying” is something somewhere. “Taking measures” is additional lessons for those who are lagging behind, new techniques, the help of strong students to the weak. "Trying" is an abstraction. I "tried" in history, but I got three times in a year. "

Further everywhere: "disciplinary action" is not equal to "punish", "reward" does not equal "motivate", "stimulate sales" - again an abstraction. "Sales must be increased by 20%." Simple and clear.

The conclusion, in my opinion, is obvious.

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The clerical uses its own conceptual apparatus, and an attempt to replace the clerk's terms with the epistolary style will prove untenable, because the meanings of words are not identical. So "order on the table" has nothing to do with the "organization of the workplace."

Words have an objective meaning and convey it with accuracy close to the mathematical one. In fiction, this accuracy can be neglected (although not always) in favor of emotions. In business and government, any ambiguity can lead to devastating consequences. The best argument in favor of the clerk is its use in the practice of business planning and investment. For decades, there was no better alternative.

Obviously, the psychology of perception is also important, hence the first assumption: the author of an article on business does not have the right to use the style of an article on cats. But the author of a publication for a popular publication must take into account the demands of the audience. At first glance, this approach is justified, but regular reading of specialized publications led me to the conclusion that the audience is understood too broadly. Hence the second assumption: the use of a clerk may require the delimitation of content into purely professional and (conditionally) emotional-business.

To avoid confusion of styles, it is useful to think about what is clerical and what its role is, and why, with all its flaws, it continues to be used in enterprises, organizations, the army and special services, and finally, in diplomacy and governments. Are the people in charge of these structures so primitive and do not see the "crying flaws" of the clerk? Maybe they did not read Nora Gal?


Office in business practice ...

... built into the business processes of the enterprise, decision-making systems and serves as the basis for a specific style of thinking. The bureaucrat uses the clerical not only because it is so accepted, but because he thinks about the clerical. Addressing the bureaucrat it is necessary to speak the language of the bureaucrat.

Test: you are the director of a construction company, write a letter to the head of the city, and offer road repair services. Task: go to a personal meeting - for this you need to declare yourself, fix an informative unit in the depths of the bureaucratic machine. In a week you will call the secretary and inquire about the fate of your letter. Card with the registration number you have.

What do you think? What style do you use?

A freestyle jargon of narration? - his supporters invariably call bureaucratic evil. I foresee the reaction: "Yes, the guy does not know how to write - in the trash." Infostyle of Maxim Ilyakhov ... - maybe it will work, and maybe not. But you can not take risks. It makes no sense to risk - inappropriate. People worked (not for free), brought to the head of the city. It is advisable to use the office.

See also: Why do copywriters dislike Ilyahov?

(And if so: "It will be correct to use clerical?" - First, "it will" by itself bears hearing. Secondly, "correctly" you can solve a mathematical problem, with a guarantee. Guarantee - a list of answers at the end of the textbook. " It is expedient "is a cumbersome word, but it speaks of action in the direction of the goal and to achieve the goal. There is no guarantee — it may not work out - but right now this is the best thing we can do. The nuances distinguish office from free style, but in nuances the true meaning .)

Dialogue with a young employee in the process of writing a business letter:

- ... can we ...

- It is impossible.

- Then how to say?

- We offer.

- A better "ask".

- We offer. Only offer! We do not ask for anything: we have a good company, skilled workers and engineers, our own equipment. It is profitable for us - it is profitable for them. We propose to solve their problem for their money. Because there is a problem, and we can eliminate it faster and better than other contractors. Faster and better is more expensive. More expensive means ... yes you yourself understand everything!

"It is possible" and "I ask" - they threw it out of business turnover when it comes to equal (not connected by hierarchy) units. The request of the employee to the head is appropriate, if it is a personal request. Pay attention to the difference between "personal nature" and "personal request." "I have a personal request for you" - for talking in a smoking room - something unrelated to work. "Personal nature" - within the business turnover, at the intersection of the interests of the employee and the company.

- Tired, exhausted - need a vacation at least for a week.

- And the case?

- This is ready to take Frolov. This will be ready tomorrow.

- Prepare a little office. I need a foundation.

The grounds, Karl!

There is no "water" in the office, there is nothing "just like that."

To reproach the clerk for the squalor of forms is the same as to consider English (or any other) language as "carrion" only because the majority of non-English speak with an accent.

The clerical is made up of stamps and, with the right approach, works as a constructor - eliminates the need to style each phrase:

"... Ivanov

... to assess the possibilities of increasing sales of rolled products by 20% (the nomenclature is attached).

Result to submit to ... to / no later than [date] ".

The number, signature.

With a draft order I go to Ivanov.

- Chef gives a week. Do you have time?

Ivanov is already thinking about the problem. If Ivanov cites an emergency, he will call the chief and find out how to move the deadlines. Say, add three days - not by Friday, but by Wednesday next week.

Does not pass - on Friday meeting of the board of directors

The volitional variant comes into force:

- Chef gives a week. Deadlines tough.

There is nothing to discuss, it is necessary to perform.

The order is ready. On the document, a note from the chief: "Frolov has a market analyst - contact him."

I put Ivanov in the loop. Now he has to distribute other tasks: move something away, call, warn, etc. Ivanov may have to spend a couple of sleepless nights; perhaps the analyst Frolov is so good that it will allow him to find solutions right away (unlikely, but not excluded).

No "grandfather with the line." There is a "deadline". Do not "explore opportunities," but "evaluate opportunities." From "explore" to "appreciate" as from the Earth to the Moon. You can study in an hour: downloaded a couple of articles in RBC - so I already studied. "Rate" - this is where the real work begins. Rate - take into account the resources, qualifications of sellers, the capabilities of mailing services. Clarify the approaches of competitors. To step over everything we did - towards what we have never done.

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A week may be a little, but Ivanov is not a "green kid." Ivanov asks a person from the IT department - he needs a consultation, and he will receive it. Will have time!

- By the way, why do we not have a single supplier base? - Chef.

The second handwritten remark: “Fedorov to make proposals on the structure of the unified information base of enterprises-contractors”

In words:

- Resolve yourself with the terms, but do not delay.

I know what this means: a fortnight. Its conceptual apparatus, in which "do not delay" is a sign [not a marker, a marker is a marker with a wide rod] of location to the employee, but also the exact term. I have two weeks.

Only in structure, because Fedorov will not make a base - almost a dozen specialists will work on it. I am preparing an order for myself.

"Stimulate" (in a business text causes ... I’ll put it mildly - a sharp rejection), "examine", "risk" (easy chills), "we want" (you can want a beautiful woman) - words and turns of the new time, unconsciously (or consciously) used by managers to avoid liability. Any freestyle is non-specific by definition. And the office is tested by the practice of public and private, our and foreign enterprises. Where business is, there is office. Where public administration - clerical. Finance ... - everything is clear, you can not continue.

Office on the Internet

From the point of view of the author of a popular reading, the use of clerical looks unjustified. I foresee a counterargument: "Allow me! And who will read this? After all, we have a popular website about business!" The key word here is popular, which means public and partly entertaining.

To answer this question, let's try to deal with the audience. The third assumption: a narrow target audience will read, and the imaginary "dry" text for it is not a hindrance.

The evil of the clerk is only in the inability to use the clerk, or in the desire to hide benign information, and do it subtly: communicate the facts, but put emphasis on secondary aspects of the problem, suggest "speedy solutions." In bureaucratic jargon - "blunt the topic" - to bury in a sea of ​​papers. But with the same success, the clerk will allow the question to be stated as briefly and accurately as possible.

Another counter argument: "We need an emotion in the text!"

And the following assumption: the emotion in the text helps the popularity of the text, but does not help sales, entering into competition with fiction and the entire entertainment industry. The entertainment industry features more. For the description of business cases (if the description itself is a commodity), an adapted office is appropriate. Adapted - moderately saturated with terms, narrow, highlighting the subject area, suggesting the basis of knowledge of the reader. The reader without a basis is eliminated - he is not interested - or gains knowledge (the "hook" for the reader - in the need to obtain additional information, at the same time assess his level). A reader without a basis outside of Central Asia: he will not pay, his transition through an advertising link will not lead to the purchase of goods, because the reader has no basis without money. He is not a pro. Like - its only currency.

We lose in tactics (the number of readers), we win in strategy (quality of the audience). But the reader wants to relax, smile, somewhere and laugh. To do this, there are other materials on the site - not business cases.

The office is good if only because everything else is long (to write and read), vaguely and ambiguously. But I want to warn. As I indicated, I am not a copywriter, but a consumer of copywriting products, and I consider any text from two points of view: its usefulness (from applied to entertaining) and its commercial value (the text itself, since the text is also a commodity). My experience has developed in bureaucratic structures - private and public, and clerks for me - the norm - which could not but affect the perception of texts, even those not related to business. I also don’t like the violentness and abundance of allegories in fiction (Hemingway’s linear, almost photographic descriptions are my favorite style). How I am “relevant” to your audience is, of course, up to you. Let me leave unanswered the question of delimiting content into business and emotionally-business within the same site, but lead ...

... a case that refutes the opinion of the bureaucracy as a "dry" language "without emotions"

Critics of the clerk often consider examples of its poor use, unfit not only for a popular site, but also for a bureaucratic apparatus all buttoned up.

Here is another example from Alexander Gridasov, in which he writes about the military-industrial complex:

"Night flights are complicated by poorly adapted navigation devices or unadapted lighting equipment."

It would seem to write:

At night it is dangerous and difficult to fly if devices and lighting engineering are not adapted. "

Excellent, in my opinion, the case, but it does not prove the clerk's weakness, but the simple fact that retelling a bad free-clerical does not improve the understanding of the text. It turns out give-on-give.

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"Not adapted" - not adapted to what? for what? not adapted by whom? What is it at all - not adapted?

Everyday experience suggests: work, but not in the right way. You can not philosophize and say simply: not configured, not adapted. Alexander uses "not adapted." Sounds good with a professional slant. But why not go to the end?

"The lighting equipment [equipment, lighting equipment at the disco] is not calibrated by parameters ... ... and does not provide sufficient runway visibility to take off safely." It is better? Who are we writing for? For a narrow circle (and who else can this phrase be designed for?) Then we rule: “it does not provide the normative illumination of the runway”. Everything! - the professionals understood.

If desired, we can model the block as you please: “according to a number of parameters” (superficial perception), “according to key parameters” (a little more in-depth), we can indicate the parameters (professionally). We can caution by pointing out the consequences: "it increases the risk of an emergency situation" (not yet an accident, and far from a catastrophe, but the freelance). We can act categorically: "excludes the possibility of a safe take-off." Is it equal to "fly dangerous"? No - the last phrase we take the subscriber "by the throat": there is no way out - it is necessary to cancel flights and calibrate the lights. For greater persuasiveness, we simply say: “cease operation of runway no. 2” (it’s not “advisable”, it’s not up to goals, delay is a catastrophe).

“It is dangerous to fly at night,” but the subscriber knows this even without our verbal exercises, as the reader knows (or we write for elementary school children?) It’s time to think why the language of the army and the MIC is clerical. But the "harsh" military - professionals. However, non-professionals also understood us.

Nonprofessionals learned that the equipment should be calibrated - to create a light cone of a given angle, but not more; that there is a standard illumination of the runway; and if the standard is not met - this is very, very bad ... and dangerous - the plane can crash. Once there is a calibration, there is a calibration specialist, and it’s clear where to look for the source of the problem. By the way, here is the advertisement: on the banner we read "the adjustment of lighting equipment ... the guarantee ... the certificate".

Words as much, the density of information has increased multiply.

But we are interested in another question: has the text lost its popularity? Has the text become too dry, unemotional? I will make the last assumption: the “fly dangerously” formula will sink into the sea of ​​similar texts, and the “calibrated” and “parameters” will allow you to attract a new audience with a request for a style familiar and understandable for the pro. If there are any doubts, the clerical can easily be diluted with a couple-three digression in an arbitrary “format” - after all, we don’t have an official memo, but a site publication, and we want to make it accessible and easy for a non-expert to read. Adaptation of the clerk to the requests of any audience seems to me to be a less complicated task than the opposite one — filling concrete style with a free style.

So what's up with the emotions? - the editor insists. I affirm that a competent user of the clerk will easily give the text emotional saturation. Вот примерный доп к блоку о ВПП: "… при обстоятельствах, близких установленным рабочей группой, в результате столкновения с тепловой машиной потерпел аварию борт [номер] в [название аэропорта] [дата/месяц и год]. Катастрофа привела к гибели 119 человек: 109 пассажиров, 8 членов экипажа, 2 сотрудников аэродромной службы.The ignition of the cabin trim and the instantaneous spread of the fire circuit inside the hull eliminated the possibility of rescue. "

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Clerical is cynical, but it is cynicism that allows to achieve a given effect - more than a streamlined “flying dangerously”. Not "dangerous", and 117 people were burned in an aluminum box due to faulty lights! - draw conclusions, comrade boss (or reader). The presentation of the details of the catastrophe with a free style (with a claim on the laurels of Dina Kunz) would rather scare away than arouse interest.


Great masters of the word - Korney Chukovsky and Nora Gal - convincingly denounced the stationery stamps. And yet ... let's not forget - they have reached undoubted perfection in other subject areas. Nora Gal does not use such a thing as "efficiency."

The opinion of the writer is the opinion of a person who appreciates the beauty of the word, the poetics of the description, the veracity of the dialogue. Office is not for this. Chancery is not for beauty. Providing a quick and correct decision is the clerk's sole purpose.

Penetration of clerical in journalism and children's literature - the problem of journalists and authors of books for children, but not the clerk. Similarly, the typing of English words in the Russian text is not a defect of the English language. Which is better: an outview or an "outside look"? And "insider"? - how to replace a simple and clear "insider"?

This happens to the clerk, and I hope that I have given enough examples of the lack of identity between words where, at first glance, this identity is beyond doubt.

“Ida recommends - always speak“ humanly. ”With any product and audience.”

Wait a minute ... what does it mean to speak with a product like a human being? Well, God bless him.

Say - yes, but do not write.


The author expresses sincere gratitude to Alexander Gridasov and the editors of "VelikaPlaza" for the excellent materials that served as a reason for this article.

And you could say a simple human "thank you"!

Watch the video: Exco Levi - Good Old Days Chancery Lane Riddim (December 2019).


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