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Clear, Vivid, and Precise Language

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 10 months ago

Using Clear, Vivid, and Precise Language

 

You need to be able to write clearly so that your reader understands what you are trying to say.

Meaningless phrases are phrases that add nothing to the sentence.

 

Examples:

it goes without saying that

after all is said and done

needless to say

on the whole

as of the moment

serve the purpose of

 

BAD: The reason that he went to college was on account of the fact that he wanted to be a lawyer.

NIIIIICE: He went to college because he wanted to be a lawyer.

 

Avoid circumlocution - talking around a subject.

BAD: Due to the fact that the shirt had been put into the dryer, at this point in time the stain can't be removed.

NIIIIICE: Because the shirt had been put into the dryer, now the stain can't be removed.

 

Examples:

a large number of = many

it is my opinion that = i think

in the near future = soon

 

Omit repetitive, or redundant, phrases.

You don't need to use too many words to say the same thing.

 

BAD: In my opinion, I think, we should refer back to the past history of Greece to learn from their mistakes.

NIIIIICE: I think we should refer to the history of Greece to learn from their mistakes.

 

Examples:

mixed together

refer back

first ever

close proximity

 

Writing precisely means using words effectively without using clichés or jargon.

A cliché is an overused phrase that has lost effectiveness.

 

BAD: Always look on the bright side of life.

NIIIICE: Always have a postitive attitude.

 

Examples:

a crying shame

that is a pity

last but not least

better late than never

no news is good news

picture perfect

flat as a pancake

 

Jargon is the use of words that are unnecessarily technical or abstract.

 

BAD: The speech clearly demonstrates the linkages between procedures, personnel, and objectives.

NIICE: The speech has relationship among procedures, personnel, and objectives.

 

interrelationship = relation

terminate = end

utilize = use

 

Practice

 

Correct the following sentences and take out the meaningless phrases.

 

1. The reason that Hester Prynne was in prison was on account of the fact that she committed an act of adultery.

2. Needless to say, the letter A on Hester's chest was to serve the purpose of punishing her.

3. It goes without saying that her punishment was severe.

4. A large number of people waited outside the prison for Hester.

5. She let the bun out of the oven during the time that she was in prison.

6. Her first ever time out of the prison was embarrassing.

7. Hester fell down and then climbed up.

8. Its a crying shame that she committed such a sin.

9. Hester and her child weren't a picture perfect duo.

10. Hester committed adultery and had an outer marriage interrelationship that conceived an infant.

11. Hester should be terminated for her gargantuan mistake.

12. There was no utilization of condoms or else this baby stuff wouldn't be a problem.

 

By Stephanie Brown and Caroline Meintzer

 

 

Works Cited:

Davis, Becky T. Alabama High School Graduation Exam Student Review Guide:

            Language. Acworth, Georgia: Enrichment Plus, LLC, 2004.

 

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