- Henry David Thoreau
is hard work. Especially concise writing. It takes a lot of thought
to write clearly and simply.
writing has as its aim to educate and make meaning plain. Such writing
is stripped of unnecessary words so that it can speak with powerful
language has its place. If you are trying to deceive, confuse, impress
or lie, high-flown phrases will serve that purpose. As William Zinssner,
the dean of plain writing, said in On Writing Well,
national tendency is to inflate and thereby sound important. The airline
pilot who announces that he is presently anticipating considerable
precipitation wouldn't think of saying it may rain."
writing has as its aim to educate readers and make meaning plain. Such
writing is stripped of unnecessary words so that it can speak with powerful
clarity. Zinssner goes on to say,
secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest
components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that
could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning
that's already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves
the reader unsure of who is doing what - these are the thousand and
one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. And they usually
occur in proportion to age and rank."
Use simple words. Use the simplest word you can without sacrificing
Use short sentences. Limit the amount of information you put
in each sentence.
Avoid long introductory clauses. Move the subject and verb near
the beginning of a sentence so that readers do not have to fish for
Keep paragraphs short and to the point. Short paragraphs are
easier to read, especially if they stay on topic.
Eliminate adjectives. Extra adjectives clutter prose. Pick descriptive
Eliminate adverbs. Extra adverbs weaken verbs. Pick action verbs
Donít hedge. Hedging with qualifiers like sort of, kind of, really,
rather, about, and in a sense dilutes your authority.
Donít inflate. Inflating your text with qualifiers like really,
very, quite, too, extremely, a bit, a lot diminishes your credibility.
Eliminate asides. Off-topic remarks interrupt the flow of ideas.
Avoid empty phrases that water down your prose like, "for
example" or "do the following."
Get rid of nonsensical words such as, "predefined,"
"irregardless," and "floundering."