Simplify your writing by removing unnecessary words and phrases. We use weak, wordy sentences because we are lazy. It is easier to use the clichés than to take time to improve our writing.
Many great writers have commented on this problem.
Here are 10 choice quotes about wordiness:
- The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do. ~Thomas Jefferson
- Let thy speech be short, comprehending much in a few words. ~Apocrypha
- When you wish to instruct, be brief. Every word that is unnecessary only pours over the side of a brimming mind. ~Cicero
- Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius-and a lot of courage-to move in the opposite direction. ~Albert Einstein
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo da Vinci
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. ~George Orwell
- The trouble with so many of us is that we underestimate the power of simplicity. ~Robert Stuberg
- I try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip. ~Elmore Leonard
- Use the smallest word that does the job. ~E.B. White
- So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads. ~Dr Seuss
How can we fix this?
If you want to be a better writer, break this bad business writing habit. Instead of vomiting meaningless words on the page, take time to think about what you are saying. Remove unnecessary words and phrases. Your reader will probably even read what you have written.
© Amanda Patterson
If you want to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
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