Briefly by R.L.G.

Why do people write more than they should, when most people find writing difficult? This may be because during their education, young writers are given a kind of assignment that may do lasting harm: they are told to write papers to minimum lengths. Most rookie writers do not have enough to say to fill the space easily, so they reach into a bag of terrible tricks: needless information, repetition, using long words where a short ones will do, three words where one will do, and so on. These habits persist.

Why do more teachers not, instead, give students an appreciation for brevity? William Strunk, one of the authors of the American usage guide “Elements of Style”, was said by his student (and later editor) E.B. White to grip the lectern in his writing class and say “Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit needless words!”  Similarly, George Orwell wrote “If it is possible to cut out a word, always cut it out.” The “Unnecessary words” entry in our own style guide notes that strike action, cutbacks, track records, policy-making processes, and weather conditions are terser and better as strikes, cuts, records, policymaking and weather. No reputable style manual will ever tell writers to write more.


Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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