Originally posted by Pat Fitzhugh
Writing tip #1: Avoid verb forms of “to be,” if possible. Am, is, are, was, and were –the most useless words in a writer’s toolbox. Why? Because 1) they usually aren’t necessary for conveying your message, and 2) removing them usually renders their accompanying qualifiers and modifiers unnecessary. When you find these potential problem-words, try removing them and rewording the sentence. You’ll often end up with a shorter, punchier sentence. Say twice as much, but with fewer words.
Writing Tip #2: To emphasize a word, place it at the beginning or end of a sentence. That’s where words stand out the most. Words or phrases of little importance should be placed mid-sentence, if possible. Also, place a paragraph’s most important sentence at the beginning or the end of the paragraph. When writing, don’t forget about emphasis.
Writing Tip #3: Go on a “which hunt.” Read this sentence: “The car, which had big wheels and a loud, roaring muffler, rolled past me.” Horrible. Now, let’s try this: “The big-wheeled car roared past me.” See there? By removing that nasty “which,” and thinking creatively, I cut more than half the sentence–eight words–without distorting its meaning. If you can remove “which” without distorting a sentence’s meaning, then remove it! If outright removal won’t work, consider using “that” instead of “which.” That uses fewer letters, and it rarely requires a preceding comma, unlike that nasty old which.
- 7 Easy RulesTo Write Your Best Chapter. (Rule 1: Write Your Worst Chapter.) (thebestchapter.com)
- Commas, semicolons, and colons – oh, my! (prdaily.com)
- 8 Copy Editing Tricks to Make You Look Professional – Whiteboard Friday (seomoz.org)