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March 19, 2012

Are You A Lousy Writer?

Are you a lousy writer? There are many attributes of a not-so-good writer.

I think it's mostly laziness but...

...there are many common habits of lousy writers, and laziness is just one of them.

If you are serious about writing (which really means you are serious about getting your message across), there are a few simple steps to making your writing much clearer - and usually far simpler.

Here's one category of bad writing that makes me crazy; unnecessary repetition. Redundancy is just another word for it. For example, you don't have to say "7 am in the morning".

Either use "7 am" or "7 in the morning" - not both.

Or how often do you hear someone say something like "She had flour and water and mixed them (both) together".

The "both" in that sentence is completely unnecessary.

Here's yet another all too common example - "He fell (down) from the ladder".

How else would he fall? Up? Sideways?

Give your reader some credit for having at least a basic understanding of gravity.

Here is a list of familiar redundancies; I hope they are not too familiar! Don't use these! http://www.lousywriter.com/grammar_mistakes_redundancies.php

Prune your writing and get rid of any excess (especially redundant) words. Your use of language, for better or worse, is many times your first impression - or even your only impression. There are many people around the world who only know me from my words - and many who I know only from their words.

One more thing, get rid of every "that" if you can. It is usually just a filler. Your writing will be much cleaner and direct without it.

Send us any words or phrases that make you crazy and be sure to let us know what it is about English and language learning that you find confounding, infuriating or endlessly intriguing.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

My best to you as you make your way through this intriguing , constantly shifting linguistic landscape.


P.S. I may be available this summer to visit your school or project. Let me know so I can schedule you in. You can contact me at mmorf(at) mail.com.

Posted by mmorf at March 19, 2012 11:01 PM


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