I have had extreme difficulty in determining what is good use in writing. My idea of good use, what it is based on, what it is good for, and how do you learn it or engage it in practice are difficult concepts for me to try and give answers to. I do not believe I am any position to judge writings and say what is and isnít good use. However, I guess I am going to try, for there are some pretty serious issues at hand such as getting along with others, being taken seriously in language and writing, and issues of truth, value, social position, and understanding. This is some pretty serious stuff. If good use is that important then why am I having such a difficult time determining what it is? If good use weighs so heavily on such important issues as socializing with others, being taken seriously, and the ever important issues of truth, value, social position, and understanding, you would think I would know what good use is strictly on the basis of surviving in society. The rules of good use should flow onto the page as easily as the Ten Commandments come to a devout Christian. However, they do not come to me so easily, in fact I do not know the first place to begin in determining what good usage is. Does this mean I am a social banana who does not get along with anyone? That I am never taken seriously every time I speak or write? That I am a liar with no morals, no social position, or comprehension of anything? I should hope not.
In my attempt to describe good usage I guess I will focus my efforts on one particular area. Good usage in writing for textbooks. I will focus my area of concern on one single written passage, explain why it is good usage, and then you are free to agree with me, cry out loud in disgust and outrage, or do whatever you want.
Robert A. Hall said, "The merit of what a person says or does is not in anyway affected by the way in which they say or do it, provided it is the most efficient way of saying or doing it."
The following passage...