Posted by: episystechpubs | August 10, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Writing Clear Sentences

Today I’m sharing some tips from a Grammer Girl article called “How to Write Clear Sentences.” The tips mentioned in this article may seem minor; however, they can make a difference between ambiguious, and clear and concise writing.

· Cut out the clutter, such as deadwood phrases (due to the fact that, in order to, in the event that, at this point in time, prior to the start of, etc.). You can improve your writing by replacing these phrases with a more simple, straightforward alternative.

· Get rid of single-word modifiers that don’t enhance the meaning of your sentences, such as very, and really.

Example: We have a very big problem here.

[JS: The word
very doesn’t add any value to the sentence; it’s just an extra word. There can’t be a
slightly big problem. The problem is either big or small.]

· Unless you are creating a conditional sentence, avoid starting sentences with the word if because it just adds words to your sentences. Instead, be direct.

Example: If you want to make your system run faster, you should purge files.

Rewrite: To make your system run faster, purge files.

· Review your sentences and make sure that the helping verbs (may, might, can, must, should, used to, need, etc.) are really helping the main verbs. Use imperatives and avoid modal verbs whenever possible so that your sentences are clear and direct.

Example: You can restrict user access by setting the Restrict User parameter to Yes.

Rewrite: To restrict user access, set the Restrict User parameter to Yes.

“Good writing is clear and concise and gets to the point. Readers don’t want to rummage through a messy verbal flea market to discover one or two sparkly gems of information.” (Julie Wildhaber)

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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