Monday, July 03, 2017

Simply read this in order to just write really better

Removing unnecessary words.
People will understand you better if you use fewer words.

The English language is chock full of words that aren't needed. Chock is a good example. Chock full originated around 1400 in England. Their word chokkeful meant “crammed full.”

They were overusing words back then, too.

If you add words that aren't necessary you slow the reader up and make him process meaningless words like chock.

Diane Jones Randall, a former colleague of mine at The Reader's Digest, found the following article and posted it on Facebook. In Digest parlance, she would have labeled it U for "usable," and she would be credited with a "spot." She and I used to sit there all day long deleting unneeded words and throwing them out the window. As we worked, the mounds of useless words grew, until soon they blocked the windows, and we had to don miners' lamps to do our work. Of course, with the windows blocked we could no longer throw more words out, so we just swallowed them. Toward the end of the day, the lines at the rest rooms were quite long.

Diane found this article on a blog called Grammarly. "Blog" is short for weblog. She posted it to Facebook, where I saw it.  I used Facebook for free. I then posted it to my blog on Google's Blogger platform, which I use for free. Neither of us paid Grammarly anything to use this article, and you're reading it for free as well.

When I first met Diane there was no Facebook, no blogs, and no World Wide Web. There was just darkness.

Okay, here we go, thanks to Karen Hertzberg, who compiled the list. This is just a sampling. At The Digest we would have selected only the best examples.

Each and every: Look for filler words in your writing each and every day daily.

Simply: Simply don’t use this word often.

As yet: We don’t know as yet whether we’ll succeed.

In order: Eliminate excess verbiage in order to clean up your writing.

Very, really, quite, rather, extremely: These very common words are really not useful. They’re rather dull.

Just: If your sentence works without it, you just don’t need this word.

In the process of: We’re in the process of learning to remove wordiness.

For all intents and purposes: For all intents and purposes, Our writing has improved.

I see what you did there, Karen.

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