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Writing Style: Simple

Writing Style – What makes good writing?


Clear Thinking

Much has been said and written about writing style, but the most important element of good writing occurs before any words are placed on paper. You must have a clear idea of what you want to say. Dewitt Scott begins his book on writing with these words of advice:

Think it through first…Your report may make many points, but it should focus on one main idea or theme.

Can you sum up the theme of your report in a one-sentence thesis? This is why paper outlines can be very helpful in clarifying your thinking.



In his book on good writing, newspaperman, editor, critic, and university professor William Zinsser emphasizes simplicity. He says we should get rid of,

Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb…the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Simplify, simplify.

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