Writing with Style: from William Strunk Jr., E.B. White – Part 2
Here’s the second installment of Strunk and White’s writing, editing tips from The Elements of Style.
More suggestions to avoid wordiness:
- Stop beating around the bush.
Use active voice statements – they are more concise. Passive voice constructions use the “to be” form of the verb (is, are, was, were…), often weak in conveying your message. Concrete or action verbs make your sentences more succinct, powerful, and convincing.
Passive: Your dreams of becoming a published author were granted. (9 words)
Active: iUniverse made you a published author. (6 words)
Remember, however, that passive voice is sometimes more appropriate as shown in the sentences below.
Self-publishing is no longer considered vanity publishing. (The statement is a fact; thus, the doer/subject of the sentence can be omitted from the sentence.)
2. Be wary of commonly misused words and expressions.
Some writers misuse words and expressions in an attempt to elucidate, without realizing they do otherwise. Sometimes this may also be a result of carelessness. Below is a list of commonly misused words and expressions from The Elements of Style.