Wikipedia:Simple News/Albacore/Articles/1

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The Simple News
The Simple News
Issue Twenty Nine
5th March 2011

Weasel words

From clicking the "show any page" button on a number of occasions, I can tell you that our encyclopedia doesn't sound like an encyclopedia should. Our encyclopedia is riddled with weasel words (which leads to point of view issues) and manual of style violations that degrade our professional image as an encyclopedia. For example, from our car article:

A car (also called an automobile) is a machine used for travel (a vehicle). It usually has an engine. Cars are different from motorcycles, and bicycles because they have four wheels.

Now compare our definition with the Tormont Webster's Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary definition of "car" (which redirects to "automobile"):

A self-propelled passenger vehicle that usually has four wheels and an internal combustion engine, used for land transport.[1]

This definition is complete and professional. The only non-simple words here are "propel" and "combustion". If I were to reword the definition, I'd be left with:

A car is vehicle used to transport passengers. Cars usually have four wheels and an internal combustion engine.

Just a note that copy-editing and proofreading articles are just as important as creating new ones.


  1. The Tormont Webster's Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary. United States of America: Tormont Publications Inc. 1990. pp. 124, 270. ISBN 2921171325. Retrieved March 4, 2011.