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Saturday, December 18, 2021

Pompous, Self-Important Writing

     Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon...

     The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that's already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what--these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. And they usually occur in proportion to education and rank. [In other words, college professors are the worst.]

William Zinsser, On Writing Well, originally published in 1975

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