The Write Way

Two Simple Steps to Clear Writing

The first goal of writing is communication. But too often our messages are muddied by a lack of clear, concise language. Fortunately, just two small changes can clarify your writing and noticeably impact your readers’ comprehension.

Avoid vague language
To make your documents more understandable, use precise descriptions rather than vague, interpretive qualifiers. Interpretive words such as very, large, really, good, and essentially take up space in your document without adding any information. Take a look at this sentence:

The results of the initial test with a large sample set were very good.

On the surface, this sentence makes sense. But what does it actually tell you? What qualifies a sample set as large? What made the results good, and exactly how good is very good?

Perhaps the document defines these terms elsewhere, but why make the reader search through additional material? Instead, rewrite the sentence in a more direct, informative way:

The initial test with 350 systems met 9 out of 10 benchmark requirements.

By being specific, this sentence tells the reader exactly what the results were without needing additional explanatory text.

Keep it simple
Using simple words makes your writing more concise and easier to read, without sacrificing precision.

Avoid using a long word when a shorter one will do the trick:

Also, limit the excessive use of acronyms or terminology that only an insider would understand. These items can turn complicated technical or scientific writing into a foreign language.

Using precise language and simple terms will drastically improve your writing. Put these two small changes into practice and watch reader comprehension climb. For more writing tips, visit Hurley Write's blog.

Learning to write clear, concise content can be challenging, but it is a learned skill that more than pays for the effort you put into it. Contact Hurley Write toll-free at 877-24-WRITE (877-249-7483) or by email for more information about our business writing training courses.

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