Avoid ambiguity and redundancy

  • State promptly and clearly all the main items involved, ones including your key words.
  • Then, when referring to these items use “this / these / such,” and offer more than just the pronoun:
  • Save words by adding data: This extremely effective program/model.”
    • Make the text talk about the text itself

    English loves signposts, or connectives, because they tell readers how to receive new information.

  • Use not only First … second … third …,” but other types of signposts, such as:On the other hand …” “Considering this from another angle …” Similar to the last point is …” “Conversely …” “Equally serious is …” 
    • Edit to avoid series of short and thus choppy sentences:

    Link some and embed others within their neighbors.

    Use the shortest sentences for the strongest statements.


    • Cut out every extra word that performs no task.

    Here’s a checklist of things you can consider cutting:

    → Adverbs, especially those with “ly” endings. Ask yourself if they’re necessary.
    → Adjectives. Often people use two or three when one or none is better.
    → Gerunds. Words that end in “ing.”
    → Passive voice: Over-use of words like “was,” “were” and “that” indicate your writing may be too passive. Reconstruct in active voice.
    → Passages that are overly descriptive.
    → Passages that tell the reader what they already know.


    Avoid repeating FACTS. Planned repetition of WORDS helps linkage. Confusion results from synonym-use. Make yourself clear by choosing one term. Do not indulge in overuse of a synonym dictionary (thesaurus). For instance, “Method / methodology / procedure / system” must never mean the same thing. We will assume that they mean four different things.


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