Top 5 Tips to Cut the Clutter

February 25, 2007 0xanna

Clutter is a term William Zinsser uses for the disease of American writing. He says that we as a society strugggle with unnecessay words, circular constructions, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon. Don’s waste words is the one rule to follow when writing He also gives five easy tips to follow when writing.

The first tip is “reduce long clauses”. In writing, people tend to make things longer and more wordy than they really have to be. The tip is to keep it to the point and make it flow well. The second tip is “reduce phrases.” This tip is ver similar to tip one, but instead of trying to make words flow well, people should try to reduce phrases to single word. For example, insead of saying “the clown at the end of the line jumped,” say “the last clown jumped.” The third tip is “avoid empty openers.” The author says to avoid the openers There is, There are, and There were. He says that There does nothing for a sentence. The fourth tip is “don’t overwork modifiers.” Modifiers are the words like only, really, or totally. He says they add nothing to the sentence so if you don’t really need them, drop them. The fifth and final tip is “avoid redundancies.” An example of doing it wrong would be “At this point in time we should leave.” When avoiding redundancies the sentence would be like this “Now we should leave.”

When I first read this article I thought it was talking about room clutter and tips to keep things clean. I read on and found it very interesting anf useful. I think a lot of people, like me, do this. When I say do this, I mean we all probably forget the rules and loose ourselves in our writing. I for one never follow tip three. I absolutlely love using modifiers. I know that my work could use some improvement. I am not doing this aticle to try and change other people’s writing. I will still probably use modifiers, but I might shorten my sentences more. I just thought we could all use a couple writing tips…after all, this is a writing class.

Link to Article


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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. colepr  |  February 25, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    Interesting article choice. Most americans do clutter when they write, and i have to admit i do it too. Great job and good article

  • 2. caraeln  |  February 26, 2007 at 12:10 am

    i found this interesting because I think I’m a pretty cluttered writer. I liked these tips though and maybe I can use a few of them!

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