From college essays to business emails, writing is a daily activity for many of us. Yet it's the Achilles' of quite a few students and professionals. In today's blog, I'll be explaining four easy ways to make your writing more concise, easier to read, and, as a result, more effective.
1. Always KISS (Keep It Short & Sweet)
Like most things in life, simpler writing is usually better writing. As a rule of thumb, it is better to keep sentences, paragraphs, and ideas simple, concise, and to the point. Fight the temptation to show off your command of the English language with overly-complex sentences and words that might be included on a high school vocabulary test. Unless you're dealing with a highly technical or academic subject matter, try to stick to words that are in common usage.
2. Use the Active Voice
Take these two sentences for example:
He was considered by many students to be the best math teacher.
Many students considered him to be the best math teacher.
The first sentence is written in the passive voice while the second is written in the active, While both sentences convey the exact same information, the active voice is a good way to cut word count and make sentences easier to understand without sacrificing any details. Generally speaking, it is better to make the people or things doing the action the subject of the sentence.
3. Maintain Flow
Unlike speaking, writing affords us the opportunity to collect and gather our thoughts before putting them into words. Creating smooth and logical transitions between ideas is not only important for style, but it helps readers to understand relationships how one thought relates to the next, Sentences and paragraphs should be ordered in a way that is clear and makes sense. It's good practice to begin paragraphs with more general sentences and more details afterwards.
4. Don't Overthink It
While it is important to make sure your writing is well thought out and free of basic spelling and free of typos, many writers make the mistake of thinking too much about what they're trying to say. This can drag out the writing process and lead to the inclusion of unnecessary details and information. Most likely, whatever it is that you are writing isn't going to be reviewed by literary scholars, journalists, or professors so don't get too hung up on wording and minor details. If it is going to be reviewed by any of these people, there are a number of free and freemium online tools out there to help catch spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors.
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