Approaching writing

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A concise primer from Strunk & White's guide titled 'The Elements of Style.'

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Approaching writing

  1. 1. Approaching Writing A concise primer from Strunk &White’s venerable – and entertaining– guide titled ‘The Elements of Style.’
  2. 2. 1. Write simply.Write in a way that is concise, informative,unpretentious. This kind of straightforwardwriting will never be out of fashion
  3. 3. 2. Write with nouns and verbs.Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectivesand adverbs. In general…it is nouns and verbs,not their assistants, that give good writing itstoughness and color.
  4. 4. 3. Do not overwrite.Rich, ornate prose is hard to digest, generallyunwholesome, and sometimes nauseating.Ruthlessly, delete the excess.
  5. 5. 4. Avoid fancy words.Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, thefancy and the cute. Avoid word like ‘beauteous,’‘curvaceous,’ ‘prodigious,’ if simpler words willdo. Do not be tempted by a twenty-dollar wordwhen there is a ten-center handy, ready andable.
  6. 6. 5. Use figures of speech sparingly.• The simile is a common device and a useful one, but similes coming in rapid fire, one right on top of another, are more distracting than illuminating.• When you use a metaphor, do not mix it up. That is, don’t start by calling something a swordfish and end by calling it an hourglass!
  7. 7. 6. Sharpen your ear.Read the following example:“A claw hammer, not an ax, was the tool he murdered herwith.”This is preferable to “A claw hammer, not an ax, was thetool with which he murdered her.”Why? The first sentence is actually grammatically lesscorrect than the second example. But it sounds moreviolent, more like murder. You see, it is a matter of ear.
  8. 8. 7. Avoid the use of qualifiers.Qualifying words like ‘rather,’ ‘very,’ ‘little,’‘pretty,’ make writing weak – avoid them!
  9. 9. 8. Use orthodox spelling.Do not write ‘nite’ for ‘night,’ ‘thru’ for ‘through,’‘pleez’ for ‘please.’
  10. 10. 9. Revise and rewrite.Revising is a part of writing. Even professionalwriters rewrite numerous times.

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