Friday, May 8, 2009

Simplify Your Writing

I recently started receiving "Ragan's Daily Headlines," an e-mail similar to PRSA Issues and Trends that lists different topics being written about for communicators. An article posted today talked about the importance of eliminating clutter from your message. Be concise and clear; here are some examples you can use to simplify your writing:

"accompanied by" - "with"
"answered in the negative" - "said no"
"at the present time" - "now"
"experience has indicated that" - "I have found"
"it is to be assumed that" - "I suppose"
"it is our opinion that" - "we think"
"it is possible that we might" - "we may"
"subsequent to" - "after"

Also, reduce "tautology" (repetition of meaning) to further simplify your message. Some examples in the report are as follows:

basic fundamentals
cirrhosis of the liver
consensus of opinion
free gift
new innovation
true facts
unconfirmed rumor
unproved suspicion
unvarnished candor
widow woman
yellow jaundice

I've been guilty of using "free gift" and "basic fundamentals." How about you? Are you guilty of any of the above or have any other phrases you'd like to add to the list?

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