Why do we believe that adding the repetition of words, especially adverbs, will create a compelling narrative? If you ascribe an adjective to an object, then ad an adverb – say, “very” – does repeating and inserting another magnify the significance of the narrative itself, or detract by placing a grammatical marker by bringing attention that the very necessity of the addition undermines the efficacy of the noun to which all of the additions point to, in the first place? May not the noun itself stand on its own two feet, so to speak; or, at least with the supportive crutches of an adjective?
If a person posits that things are “very bad”, does the person responding who adds, “No, things are very, very bad” contribute to the discourse in that singular addition? And what of the third in the discussion, who says, “Yes, I must agree, things are very, very, very bad”? And what if a fourth person – unassuming and generally unemotional, who puts a sense of finality to the entire conversation by declaring: “No, you are all right. Things are bad.” Did the last statement without the adverb and the repetition of additional tautological ringers, say anything less in the utterance, and conversely, did the third contributor add anything more to the discourse?
Often enough in life, that which we believe we are enhancing, we are merely detracting from in the very repetition of discourse. It is like a signal or a marker; the red flag that arises suspicion is sometimes waved through the unintentional attempt to bring about attention through repetitive enhancement, and it is often the noun with the singular adjective that evinces the quietude of force in grammatical parlay. Pain, anguish and medical conditions often seek to descriptively reveal through unnecessary repetition.
For the Federal employee and U.S. Postal worker who is working on preparing an effective Federal Disability Retirement application, to be submitted through one’s own agency or the H.R. Shared Services Center (for Postal employees) in Greensboro, N.C. (if the Federal or Postal employee is still with the Federal Agency, or not yet separated for more than 31 days), preparing adequate and sufficient responses on SF 3112A, Applicant’s Statement of Disability, must be embraced with care, fortitude, forthrightness and deliberation of factual, medical, legal and personal weaving of a compelling narrative.
Inclusion of too many adverbs may be a distraction; meanderings of thought and unnecessary information will undermine the entirety of the construct; and while the linguistic tool of repetition can be effective and compelling, too much of a “good thing” may undermine the singularity of a narrative’s natural soul.
In the end, the Statement of Disability prepared by a Federal or Postal Disability Retirement applicant should be a compelling narrative delineating a discourse of bridging the nexus between medical condition and one’s positional duties. It should be descriptive. It should be very descriptive. It should be very, very descriptive. It should also include the descriptive, the legal and the personal, just not very, very, very so.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire