Are you writing memos, reports, essays, articles, or any other work you share with others?
If yes! Then improving your writing skills is the most important thing you could do for professional growth. Writing in a clear and straightforward way takes practice, unlearning bad habits, and the advice in this Byte!
George Orwell's Rules for Writing and Self Editing:
Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. 😅
Let's test it!
Never use a metaphor, simile, or another figure of speech that you are used to seeing in print. They will be ignored or confusing to non-native speakers.
read between the lines
play your cards right
it's an uphill battle
better safe than sorry
you can't judge a book by its cover
bring to the table
the grass is always greener on the other side
Can you think of any others?
Jon has been a window washer for 10 years in New York City. How would you describe him?
Never Use A Long Word Where A Short One Will Do
Quiz: Let's test this:
A) How can I convey the hindrance to information absorption by utilizing complex grandiose nomenclature?
B) How can I explain how hard it is for people to learn when you use big words?
Which sentence is easier to understand?
If It Is Possible To Cut A Word Out, Always Cut It Out
Wordy: For what it’s worth, I thought the movie was terrific.
Concise: I thought the movie was terrific.
Wordy: Needless to say, we won’t be returning to that restaurant.
Concise: We won’t be returning to that restaurant.
Wordy: I personally would prefer to test the software before buying it.
Concise: I would prefer to test the software before buying it.
Wordy: The lost phone is blue in color.
Concise: The lost phone is blue.
Wordy: There were four candidates vying for the position.
Concise: Four candidates were vying for the position.
Wordy: Make sure you approach the conversation in a careful way.
Concise: Make sure you approach the conversation carefully.
Never Use The Passive Where You Can Use The Active
Sentences in the active voice have a strong, direct, and clear tone. Here are some short and straightforward examples of active voice:
Bananas are adored by monkeys.
The money was counted by the cashier.
The squirrel was chased by the dog.
Monkeys adore bananas.
The cashier counted the money.
The dog chased the squirrel.
"An error has occurred with your account, but every attempt was made to remedy it." Active or passive?
When reviewing your work or others remember to:
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This Byte has been authored by
Director of Content Programs | Debate Coach