Saying more with less is the best kind of writing. I think the title of that study is really clever, though. How often are the titles of studies funny, while also clearly illustrating the point of the study? Full points! Did the last paragraph really bore you that much? Did you even notice? Is the active form really always better? Where did this anti-passive sentiment start? Passive voice has its own place.
It is very useful when you are describing a process or when the doer of the action is not as important as the result. I love the big words. Love them. These are brilliant tips! Anyone of our clients writing copy for their site could benefit from this. The same principles apply to my native language Spanish. Thank you! Great advice.
I find audio transcription a useful technique to avoid unnatural language, thus my writing comes across more conversational. A great iPhone app for this is Dragon Dictation. Great tips! As a psychologist I know of the big words—and they do bore me! Even though I understand the words, I skim over much of them to get to the point. Which might be a the 12th tip here: Get to the point and be done with it! If for nothing else, avoid the passive voice since politicians use it to get around tough questions.
I know all about leaving the actor out of sentences, but does that mean the active voice is always better? Is the problem the voice, or the avoidance? I did it just now. The rest of our customers just want to hear us speak in everyday language. When I write copy I like to pretend that I am writing a letter to my grandmother.
Should I be stopped by that? Thank you, Dean. Too many writers, I think, begin with the goal of impressing their audiences. The real goal is communication. Nice post. I see a conflict between 2 and 4. In example 2, you take a sentence and make a paragraph out of it. In 4, you advise shorter sentences. I think the example in 2 would have worked better if you had found a way to use several short sentences to flesh out the description.
Benjie, I beg to disagree, there is no conflict. Adjectives and adverbs are two different things. Probably one of my biggest downfalls is being a little too stiff in my writing style. I appreciate your tips Dean. I think we all know many of these things. Nice refresher.
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You should assiduously eschew obfuscatory prolixity and hyperverbosity. Your post was very good, Dean. A nice, clean, spare writing style is something to be envied. I go in spurts. When I organize myself and clear my head, I do well. My thoughts flow and I lose myself in my writing. I feel good about the end result. Then, the next day, things may go all to heck in a handcart.
I allow the tyranny of the urgent to take over and find myself racing to get things done. Active voice cuts down on word count, too. At 8 cents per word, that can add up with the proofer. And, yes, the passive voice can be and is used to obfuscate. The bastards. Instead of spending time working out whether each of your sentences is active or passive, is it not more efficient to hunt for things that are unclear, or wordy, or that sound like a civil servant wrote it? I think these are all very useful tips — thanks for sharing. The advice on short sentences, paragraphs and not writing too much are something I think would make a lot of blogs a lot better and are sins I often fall foul of myself I am a chronic over-writer.
To establish niche authority, we need to write with authority. As for the big words and complex sentence issues— while thesauritis and inelegant subordination can lead to obsfucation, we have , words to choose from and complex ideas to convey. Simple sentences cannot express complex, subtle relationships.
The world of ideas should not be limited to a 4th grade reading level. Another thing to add to Edit Ruthlessly: read your copy out loud.
One of the quickest ways to catch all the points that come before Great blogging advice! Ban the fluff, for sure. Be concise.
11 Smart Tips for Brilliant Writing
I now find myself auto-correcting my writing more. I do wish that Dean had a career in politics. It would be so good to hear less hot air and more truth from those who are supposed to govern us. Love this as so many of us are guilty of these at one point or another. I am not a fan of the big words as it do not find them to be very conversational. I do not necessarily talk in big words so why would I write that way is sort of my model for writing.
For me it is not necessarily about looking smarter or not, it is about how I talk and transferring that over to how I write. These tips are ones to remember esp when we do start to ramble — resists the inviting temptation. Always remembering to use them is another question…. I disagree with 3. I may adapt my view when that time comes. One side thought: Although many Copyblogger posts are driving home the same messages, repetition is crucial in making the messages stick. Everytime I read a new post, I get some new ideas to work on. Great list of tips to keep us all focused.
For those of us that had to write huge papers in high school and college, writing so that most people can understand and enjoy does not come naturally. Keep things short, interesting and to the point. Love this! Your first point is great. Have something worthwhile to say. You know your point. You get it across. Job well done. But a bigger issue for me is trying to balance writing for attorneys with good blogging. I guess it means I must juggle 2 writing styles to blog well and satisfy my clients.
Thanks for the tips, timely as always! I would hate for them to slip in to everyday conversation! Great tips Dean. Thanks for posting. It is sometimes hard not to use big words to describe something… It can be quicker and more precise to use technical jargon and fancy words but you do have to get your message across to your reader, who may not have the depth of your vocabulary. WillieHewes — My gripe with passive voice is that it usually hurts clarity.
I swear that its grammar checker draws immense pleasure from harassing me about passive voice. I gripe, but my rewrite is usually much clearer. Maybe your word processing software has a similar torture-the-writer option. Fantastic tips. He covers a lot of these tips, actually. Thanks Dean, your words have ignited a spark of responses hungry for simplified expression. Me too as I struggle to find ways to describe the way something looks..
Its an awesome article. I have been struggling to write these simple words and explain correctly. Now, I have some idea and hopefully I will use on my website. I have been writing a website on Nepal with lots of helpful informations. If you guys could help me how to simplify my writing visiting my website that would be awesome. Holy crap!
Love the tips, but I am not reading all these comments. I love number 7. Eliminate the fluff. Cut it out.
Chop it up. Anything that can help us keep it simple, make it more readable and get our message across is a good lesson to learn. Damn good! Maybe in the next version. One of the other advantages of the Write — Wait — Edit approach is that you will discover words that have been left out and should be there to complete a sentence. The missing words are in your head when you write the article and when you review it right after writing. The missing words are no longer in your head when you come back later to review and edit the article. Leaving the text and coming back later is a trick that I swear by.
I also read text out loud to spot errors. Good writing tips here. I do have a tendency of getting a little long winded some times. How do you like Thesis? Especially timely as I write monthly blogs and website articles for clients, as well as myself. This will help me give them better value.
Brilliant Academic Writing
Excellent post Dean. The idea is to welcome readers and let them know that we are just as ordinary as any other person. This is an interesting study. However, this seems to be stating the obvious. Overusing complex terminology and vague adjectives definitely alienates the average reader. Technical vernacular is appropriate for trade journals and other professional publication but vague adjectives always make the writer seem less credible. I am a journalism student at the University of Kansas and these are the types writing guideline that were drilled into our brains during the first research and writing class we were required to take.
All these guidelines are basic AP and inverted pyramid news writing styles. Nevertheless, it is nice to see one scientific field provide legitimacy to the practices of another. Be very careful not to do this! Good essays give both sides of an argument, presenting information impartially and considering multiple points of view. Use quotations from academic works and sources to back up points you want to make. Understanding the religious and political context of the times in which Blake wrote is essential to understanding his writing and art.
You know what they say — a picture speaks a thousand words. Make use of the footnote feature in your word processor and include citations at the bottom of each page, with a main bibliography at the end of the essay. There are different accepted forms for citing an academic reference, but the main thing to remember is to pick one format and be consistent. Curta, F. Your English should be impeccable if you want to be taken seriously, and that means clear and intelligent sentence structures, no misplaced apostrophes, no typos and no grammar crimes.
Include your name at the top of each page of your essay, and number the pages. Allowing time for it to sink in may result in you having a sudden brilliant revelation that you want to include. So there we have it — everything you need to know in order to write an essay to impress. If you have any further great tips to add, feel free to share them in the comments below!
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Your email will not be shared and you can unsubscribe whenever you want with a simple click. Image credits: banner ; lightbulb ; Long Room ; Blake ; corrections. May 11, at am. I learnt new concept to include in an essay I. March 25, at pm. August 22, at am. August 3, at pm. September 11, at pm. Had I discovered this during undergrad, I would have got a August 1, at am. May 17, at am. May 4, at pm. February 15, at am. January 17, at am. December 8, at pm. October 27, at am. October 1, at pm.
Well this is extremly beneficial for having better results. September 1, at am. July 21, at pm. July 11, at pm. March 8, at pm. Thank you. March 5, at am. Thank you so much Why not apply these ideas to a real essay? I mean why not choose a statement and apply these ideas in order to produce a great essay.
February 12, at am. Very informative but need a few essays to read, so as to know how to apply the pointers provided by you. February 12, at pm. Have you had a chance to read our more specific article on essay technique? You might find it useful when developing your writing skills. February 8, at pm. January 19, at pm. January 11, at pm. January 3, at pm. December 15, at pm. December 14, at pm. December 4, at pm. Great advice for those looking to write splendid essays. I actually have one tomorrow and these tips look nice to work with. December 1, at pm. Thanks for the great tips.
November 8, at am. There are some points that I was doing all along by myself! Great list anyway. I am more fond in winning essay writings against 4th year students now! September 30, at pm. September 5, at pm. September 7, at am.
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