he must advance regularly from Things known to thing unknown [Benjamin Franklin]

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Senior Member
This sentence is from Benjamin Frankline's quote.

"If he would inform, he must advance regularly from Things known to thing unknown, distinctly without Confusion, and the lower he begins the better."

Who is "he?"
and what is the meaming of "advance regulary" and "distintly without Confusion" and "the lower he begins the better"?
Better what?

Could you plese explain in plain english.

Source:I bet Ben would have liked blogging...
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    "He" = "the writer" --any writer who wishes to "inform" his readers.
    As we're allowed only one question per thread, please post your others separately.


    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It's true that we ask that each thread have one focus. :)

    In this case, I think it's reasonable to discuss the meaning of the sentence as a whole in this a single thread. The individual words have their ordinary meaning; the difficulty is knowing how they go together.

    He (the writer) must proceed [advance] in a regular way [regularly] from things the reader already knows [Things known] to something the reader doesn't know yet [thing unknown].

    The writer must start by writing about things the reader already knows and then use these to explain things the reader doesn't know or understand.

    He must explain these things in clear language [distinctly without Confusion].

    The further he goes back to begin with simple basic facts, the better his explanation will be -- the more able people will be to understand him [the lower he begins the better]. In this case simple ideas are regarded as 'lower' than the higher ideas the author wants to explain.

    (Authors may also be women, but I used 'he' because Benjamin Franklin did, and I suspect that at the time Benjamin Franklin assumed the authors he was advising would be men.)

    Note: It is better to focus on modern writers when you are learning English, unless you need to understand a specific quotation by an earlier writer. This language of this quotation is quite different from the way we would express the idea today.
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