What is Clarity in communication in a text clarity and coherence


Clarity is the quality of what is clear, that is, the condition of things that are correctly and sufficiently illuminated . Clarity is the opposite of darkness, therefore, and comes as a word from the Latin voice claritas , derived in turn from clarus (“clear”).

In Greco-Roman culture, as in the vast majority of human civilizations, daylight and what was within sight had its equivalent, metaphorically, in thought and ideas , since in the mind’s eye he can see more or less clearly depending on how much the light of reason shines in a person.

Thus, life and human reason were related to day and light, while night and darkness had to do with death, sleep and unconsciousness. For this reason, today we speak of clarity to also refer to understanding .

For example, we ask if something “is clear” or “it was clear” to know if our interlocutor fully understood it, and we ask someone to “speak clearly” if we notice that they are not pronouncing very correctly or are speaking in a difficult way. to understand. Likewise, we say that an instruction “was not very clear” when it failed to convey to us what we should do or left us with too many doubts about it.

Clarity in communication

Every act of communication consists of transmitting a message from one point (a sender ) to another (a receiver ), trying to lose as little information as possible along the way. In this sense, communication occurs clearly when the meanings are evident, easy to grasp , especially when it depends on the way in which the sender transmits his message.

Thus, the clarity of a communicative act may depend on:

  • The expressive capacity of the sender : his talent to communicate his message in an understandable way.
  • The absence of obstacles and noise in the communication channel , which may obscure (distort, confuse, make less understandable) the meaning of the message.
  • The adequate capacity of the receiver to perceive the message and decode it correctly. It is possible that a message is very clear to the sender, but not so to the listener, if the latter lacks the tools to fully understand it: command of the language, the appropriate terminology, etc.

Clarity in a text

A text is said to be clear when its reading and interpretation are relatively easy for the average reader . In other words, when the meanings of what is written are more or less evident, and the reader does not need to make a great effort to capture and decode them. A clearly written text can also be called: frank, friendly, open, simple, easy, etc.

On the contrary, an obscure text is one whose meanings are not at all evident . It may be because it is written in a challenging way, difficult for the reader, because it requires a lot of attention or requires a very deep knowledge of the subject, or because it is poorly written and the exact meaning is lost in ambiguity, in doubt.

For example, some philosophical texts can be a challenge for the average reader, since their use of language is intricate, demanding, and at times even confusing. The writings of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze or Jacques Lacan are usually considered “dark”, that is, difficult to interpret correctly. If we consider that its authors no longer live to give explanations about it, things are more complicated.

Another case of “dark” texts can be religious texts, written in an ambiguous and mysterious way, precisely because they must be interpreted in light of a specific doctrine, and usually by a priest or initiate.

Clarity and coherence

Very often, the clarity of a text depends on its coherence , that is, on the correct union between its component parts. Language not only requires that we know the right words, but that we must also say them in the correct order, put together in a coherent way.

For example, sentences in Spanish tend to prefer the subject – verb – predicate (SVP) structure. Sentences written in this way are normally held to be clearer, more evident, than those that are governed by different orders.

For example: “Juan plays soccer with his brothers” is a clear sentence, with little room for ambiguity for incorrect interpretation. However, if we assemble it in a different way, such as “he plays soccer with his brothers Juan”, we will notice that the meaning is obscured, although we have not violated the coherence of the sentence.

A third case, such as “his brothers play football with Juan”, we have broken the coherence of the sentence and completely obscured its meaning.

This same principle applies to larger texts: the union between its paragraphs will determine how much clarity the general sense of the reading has, even if each paragraph, in itself, turns out to be well written and understandable.

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