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Writing Tips

Keep it simple.
If your ten-year-old brother wouldn't understand what you are attempting to express, then you have not expressed it well.

Keep sentences short, simple and direct.
Short words are better than long words. Simple sentences are clear sentences.

Respond to questions directly.
Do not comment on issues not directly related to answering the question.

Stay focused.
Recall the main points you want the reader to remember. If any material does not advance these points, it should be deleted.

Avoid unnecessary words.
For instance, in most cases, change: “in order to” to “to”; “whether or not” to “whether”; “is equal to” to “equals”

Avoid “of course", “clearly,” and “obviously.”

Clearly, if something is obvious, that fact will, of course, be obvious to the reader.

Avoid the word “very, as it is very often very unnecessary and very cumbersome.

Avoid jargon.
Any word you don’t hear or read regularly is suspect.

Avoid redundancy.
Do not repeat yourself. Do not keep saying the same thing repeatedly in other words. Do not express the same idea over and over.

Avoid circular constructions.
Communism isn't bad because it is communist. Capitalism isn't good because it is capitalist.

Avoid the passive voice.
Use the active voice wherever possible.

Use positive statements.
Statements of fact backed by evidence are preferred.

Use adverbs sparingly.

Never make up your own acronyms.
GDP is acceptable for Gross Domestic Product, but MDAMHW is not acceptable for My Dog Ate My Homework.

Keep your writing self-contained.
Frequent references to other works can be distracting. Put details and digressions in footnotes. Then delete the footnotes.

Use graphic metaphors and compelling anecdotes.
A picture is worth a thousand words, facts and figures.

Strunk and White’s Elements of Style