In On Writing, The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction Zinsser mentions a method of removing clutter from your writing:

Is there any way to recognize clutter at a glance? Here’s a device my students at Yale found helpful. I would put brackets around every component in a piece of writing that wasn’t doing useful work. Often just one word got bracketed: the unnecessary preposition appended to a verb (“order up”), or the adverb that carries the same meaning as the verb (“smile happily”), or the adjective that states a known fact (“tall skyscraper”). <...> Most first drafts can be cut by 50 percent without losing any information or losing the author’s voice.

The mere idea of these brackets has already helped me to identify clutter in my writing, feeling more natural than for example Word's review function.

I'm reading the book now and thought it might help someone else too. Or maybe you'd like to share similar tricks on how you improve your writing.

Source: reddit post


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