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  Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde (October 29, 2007)
 


Writing Concise Sentences

Last week, in the list of tips from Stephen King, two stand out: "Get to the point." and "Cut down your text." Since this might be a difficult task for a beginner, I sought good web resources to help make it clearer what King means.

Dr. Charles Darling's, "Guide to Grammar and Writing," contains a relevant page, titled "Writing Concise Sentences." Take the time to browse the whole page right to the bottom (where you'll find three quizzes to help you practice your technique). On the page you'll find numerous examples, including a list of clichés to avoid.

Before you go, take a quick look at William Strunk Jr.'s advice on concise writing.

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.—William Strunk Jr. in Elements of Style

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