You’ve had punctuation and grammar shoved down your throat since grade school. This isn’t another “techie” post. It’s about smoothing out your writing like a pro. If you haven’t learned the following easy tips, learn them, and I promise you will be an exponentially better writer.
I feel like the following tips don’t need big explanations; that could actually confuse more than teach. Instead, I will give examples of clumsy writing compared to smooth writing, then I will give brief explanations.
Let’s examine a paragraph, shall we?
Harriet was sitting on the couch knitting all day. Her good friend called her on the phone and said that she needed someone to have a conversation with. So Harriet began to tell her to relax. Her friend was glad, and she started to calm down.
All the boldfaced words can be “smoothened”:
was sitting… sat
her on the phone… [delete]Cut unneeded words.
that… [delete]Cut unneeded words.
conversation with… with which to have a conversation Don’t end a sentence with a preposition.
So… [delete]Don’t begin a sentence with a conjunction
. began to tell… began telling Often you can combine “to” with the following verb.
Her friend was glad, and she started to calm down… Glad, her friend started calming Condense sentences, cutting unneeded words.
Now, let’s read the paragraph with the changes.
Harriet sat on the couch knitting all day. Her good friend called and said she needed someone with which to have a conversation. Harriet began telling her to relax. Glad, her friend calmed.
These sort of tips are good to keep in mind while writing. They are especially useful when you’re on your last edits of a manuscript.