Deep in a long discussion, Phil writes, in evident frustration:
I don’t like argument by innuendo. Say what you mean; how hard is it, for cryin’ out loud?
Actually, it is hard! I’ve spent years trying to write directly, and I’ve often noticed that others have difficulty doing so. I always tell students to simply write what they did, in simple declarative sentences. (It can be choppy, that’s fine: “I downloaded the data. I cleaned the data. I ran a regression” etc.) But it’s really hard to do. As George Orwell put it, good prose is like a windowpane, but sometimes it needs a bit of Windex and a clean rag to fully do its job.