tips for better writing

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1. Tips for better writing Adapted and abridged from: writing-clearer-6-tips-for-re-wording-sentencesa/ 2. Tips for those who wish to write more clearly and effectively Avoid the passive voice The passive voice is boneless. The subject is helpless, under the power of forces they do not command. In a well-written sentence, the verb is powerful and precise, an active tool at the subjects command. For example: Passive: It is believed by the boxer that the power is there to cause his opponent to fall down. Active: The boxer thinks he has a knock-out punch. 3. Avoid wordy phrases Some writers use wordy phrases when a single word will do. Use because instead of: due to the fact that in light of the fact that owing to the fact that 4. Avoid wordy phrases Use about instead of: concerning the matter of in reference to with regard to Use can instead of: is able to is in a position to has the capacity to 5. Avoid wordy phrases Limit prepositional phrases: Use an apostrophe, not a prepositional phrase, to show possession. Bad: It was the opinion of the teacher that Susan was ready for third grade. Better: In the teachers opinion, Susan was ready for third grade. Dont use too many prepositional phrases in a sentence: Bad: The ultimate point of the discussion with all of the people was to reach a consensus of the group about what to do with the leftover funds from the fundraiser. Better: The group discussed options for the leftover fundraiser money and ultimately reached a decision. 6. Avoid wordy phrases Watch for redundancy, stating the obvious, or packing a sentence with excess detail and unnecessary modifiers: Wordy: Imagine in your mind what a caveman from an earlier prehistoric time must have thought about when he originally saw fire for the first time. Better: Imagine what prehistoric man thought when he saw fire for the first time. . 7. Avoid wordy phrases For precision and clarity, excise these words from your writing: kind of sort of really basically actually generally typically for all intents and purposes 8. Avoid wordy phrases Edit your writing for redundant pairs such as: true facts past history free gift unexpected surprise each individual 9. Combine sentences In many cases, you can combine information from two short sentences into one complex sentence without sacrificing clarity. Sentence variety also improves readability. Wordy: The house next door is occupied by three widowed sisters. They moved here in 1985 with their three dogs and havent left since. Better: Three widows and their dogs live next door, their home since 1985. 10. Avoid Vague Nouns and Noun Strings All-purpose nouns, such as factor, situation, and area, lead to obscure writing. Vague: A college education is an important factor in finding a job in the area of accounting. Better: For accounting jobs, a college degree is important. 11. Whats a noun string? A noun string is a term for a series of nouns or other words, all of which modify the final noun. For example, in the noun string U.S. energy consumption the nouns "U.S." and "energy" modify the final noun "consumption. To make long noun strings easier to understand, restore the missing prepositions to show the relationship between the words and convert the noun that hides the key action to a verb. Often, the string can be shortened by removing unnecessary words as well. 12. Fixing noun strings Here are some examples of noun strings and how they can be improved in the name of clarity: Source: Wikipedia Poor Improved Municipal Solid Waste Classification Methodology Methodology for Classifying Municipal Solid Waste Scanner Head Motion Control Arm[1] Arm for Controlling the Motion of the Scanner Head Underground Mine Worker Safety Protection Procedures[2] Procedures for Protecting the Safety of Mine Workers 13. Writing for clarity requires a ruthless editing of your work; when its finished, walk away from your composition for a few hours and approach it with new eyes. Then cut the unnecessary, rewrite the clumsy, and leave out the parts you think nobody will read anyway.