Be brief – get your point across

Making your writing short and precise will make you look cleverer and make people more likely to read it.

Photo: Cecil Beaton [Public domain]
Quote: As cited in Churchill by Himself (2008), ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 50, ISBN 1586486389

Things to avoid

  • Repetition – your writing can be boring for the reader if you keep repeating the same words or phrases
  • Overworked words – some words are used so much that they lose their meaning – try and be specific
  • Clich├ęs – phrases that have been used over and over and don’t add anything
  • Verbosity – using too many words when plain language works better – try not to sound pompous and over-formal

Not big, not clever

A 2005 study from the psychology department of Princeton University found that using long and obscure words does not make people seem more intelligent. Dr. Daniel M. Oppenheimer did research which showed that students rated short, concise texts as being written by the most intelligent authors. But those who used long words or complex font types were seen as less intelligent.[22]