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Weekly Writing Tip #2 - Keep it simple

Keep It Simple

Many freshmen college students try to use lots of words to say something quite simple. Don’t fall into that trap. Your professor will not be impressed. He or she will simply edit out your fine words. Instead, choose quality words that convey your message in the best way possible. Don’t overuse the Thesaurus! Find the word that is best for the idea and use it. Edgar Allen Poe wrote: “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” This doesn't mean terrify your instructors. Poe was right in that each word has its own reality. Find the right one. Your writing should be as tight as possible. Read over your paper and dissect the words. Can some words be removed? Can some words be exchanged for better ones? A concise, well-worded paper will impress your professor more than a wordy one.

Here is an example:

A: Let me tell you the reasons why I left you there. I had to throw out all of my papers and start over. Now I can't decide whether or not to stay.

B: Let me tell you why I left. I threw out all my papers. Now I can't decide whether to stay.

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Published on by bcalvano.