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Vigorous writing is concise.

June 20th, 2018

I’ve been writing more.

I’m writing a short book with my partners at People & Company, and I’m writing here regularly to reflect on what I’m learning. This quote on “omitting needless words” from “The Elements of Style” struck me today:

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

Concise writing is a gift. As someone once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”

Tagged: concise, elements of style, quote, william strunk jr, writing