I recently took one of those defensive driving courses online, in order to get a discount on my car insurance rates. This is not my first time taking the course, so I knew what to expect – one hour of material stretched to 6 hours through statistics rendered meaningless through lack of context (118,000 drivers are over 65 years old , and 124,000 are under 20!), potentially useful information with shaky relevance to driving (alcohol can cause peptic ulcers!), and startling contentions with no citations (20% or drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel!).
But we can all learn something from the prose stylings of whoever wrote up the bullet points for that course. For one thing, they really know how excite the reader’s interest with sentences like “School buses carry our most precious cargo (children)”. I mean, who ever would have guessed what they meant by “precious cargo” without that parenthetical? School buses, after all, carry many other things, like, um, old gum, and the occasional forgotten pencil.
But my favorite is this bit of prose magic: “You might think that is true, but it is contrary to actuality”. What kind of lame-o says “that is incorrect”, amirite? “Contrary to actuality” is way classier, and I, for one, intend to use it from now on.