Please don't write "point of view"
There are some hills I am prepared to die on, this is probably not one of them, but it is irritating as hell.
An offending phrase
This is a post about why I hate the phrase “point of view”.
“Point of view” is used in sentences like this:
Not long ago, I read the article “Software Architecture: it might not be what you think it is”, where the authors seek to advance on the definition of Software Architecture, from the point of view of the decision making process when evolving software systems. – Source, emphasis mine.
The section in bold doesn’t make sense.
Let’s ignore that two of the items in the ‘hardware’ list are actually software (Signal, iPadOS).
The author could just have easily written the following:
The Apple iPad’s Hardware
“Point of view” is an insidious and garbage phrase.
There is no “point of view”
The “decision making process when evolving a system” doesn’t have a “point of view”. It’s not a person, or a thing that’s ever capable of having a point of view. The author wants to attach more information to the first part of the sentence, and does so by using “point of view” as if it were a conjunction joining word (like; and, for, but, so, yet).
“Point of view” is passive, and lazy
Instead of thinking about how the extra information could be included in the sentence, the author just tacks it on the end, using “point of view” as a conjunctive phrase. This causes two things to happen:
Firstly, it creates a passive sentence, which is harder for the reader to read and understand. If you want more on active/passive sentences, read Mary Dash’s writing tips. Secondly, it hides the meaning of the sentence. It’s unclear how the “decision making process when evolving software systems” relates to or is affected by “the definition of Software Architecture”. This is because the only words linking these two sentence fragments is the meaningless throwaway phrase “point of view”. Instead the author might could written:
I read the article “…” where the authors seek to advance the definition of Software Architecture. The premise is that with a clearer definition Software Architecture, those making decisions about the Software Architecture can be much clearer on the types decisions they are actually making.
Instead we get “point of view” which says virtually nothing, and makes the last part of the sentence hard to relate to the first part.
“Point of view” is almost never used to mean “opinion”
The only valid use of the phrase “point of view” is to mean “opinion”, and even then it’s weaker than just using the word “opinion”. If “point of view” is not directly following the word “my”, then you’re not using it as an indicator of your opinion. And, if you are writing “my point of view”, please just write “opinion” instead.
Writing is thinking
Writing well is thinking well. Unclear writing is a direct reflection of unclear thinking. “Point of view” is a stop-gap, lazy, throwaway phrase that allows the author to link two thoughts or ideas without being clear on how those thoughts and ideas actually relate to each other.
Use “point of view” in your own writing as a trigger to consider; how do these two sentence fragments actually relate to each other, and how can I make that clear?
… and then please delete the words “point of view”.