A shrewd fellow named Bubba Sparxxx once said, “get it right, get it tight.” We like to think he was referencing his approach to effective copywriting. A strong writer knows how to nix the word clutter and keep writing concise.
If you didn’t know Lorrie Walker Public Relations also provides stupendous writing services, now you do. Our writing philosophy centers on the elimination of “fluff”- those empty words that say nothing and lend an amateur tone to your work. An abundance of word fluff is bad for business and litters otherwise well written content.
Consumers who aren’t particularly English-savvy can still identify poor writing. Unprofessionalism or inexperience isn’t tough to detect. That’s why it’s important to produce well-crafted and succinct content that portrays you or your business as proficient and capable.
One way to cut the fluff is to abide by the guidelines set forth by Mr. Sparxxx. To generate writing that’s right and tight, use these five words with caution.
That. If you believe that you’ve never used this demonstrative pronoun gratuitously in a sentence, I’m saying that you’re wrong.
Go through the above sentence and cancel out each “that.” Not only does the sentence still work, it reads better. Keep in mind this word does serve an essential role in the English language, as evidenced in the second, third and fourth paragraph of this post. After each use of “that,” check to see if the sentence still makes sense without it. If it does, cut it.
Just. It’s just so conversational and rarely contributes to a sentence. We say avoid “just.”
Got. Sometimes, this word is like a diction crutch. “Got” or “get” is often used when you’re too uninspired to think of a suitable verb. For example: “I got an award.” “I got up.” “I got experience.” Don’t give into the ineptness. We encourage you to explore the English language and select a more colorful and fitting word to convey your thought.
Really. When I read “really,” a disgruntled teenage girl speaks in my head. It’s not professional or essential to a statement. If you’re really sad, say you’re devastated. There’s a plethora of descriptive words out there, people. Pick one. Same goes for “very,” too.
Completely. This is similar to the “really” rule. Example: The building was completely destroyed. “Destroyed” denotes devastation. If only a portion of the building was destroyed, adjust your wording accordingly.
To close out today’s lesson in writing, we offer one more nugget of insight. Excessive exclamation points are the stupid icing on the bad writing cake. Even good writing is dumbed-down by an exclamation overdose.
Let’s use Shakespeare to observe this phenomenon. How does this read?
“To be or not to be- that is the question!!! Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them!!!!!!!!”
You see? It’s silly. Give your words the respect they deserve. Don’t belittle them with unseemly punctuation.
Check back soon for more writing wisdoms from our crew at LWPR.