Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Writing Tip of the Week

Wordiness is a major problem in most lawyers' writing. While an extra word here or there doesn't seem like much, they can quickly add up. More importantly, wordiness can slow down your reader. There are lots of things you can do to eliminate wordiness from your writing. This tip comes from Andy Starkis:

"Want to cut down on your word/page count? Want to get your point across more clearly and effectively? Play Where's Waldo? with your draft. Only instead of Waldo, look for combinations of relative pronouns ("who," "which," "that") followed by any form of the verb to be ("is," "was," "were," "has been," "will be," etc.). Then put a line through those words and read what's left of your sentence. Chances are that what's left will say exactly the same thing and say it more effectively, in fewer words. And you will be amazed to discover how many of them you find in ten, fifteen or twenty pages.

For example, in an answer submitted to the Elephant Post (reported in a 5/15 jbl post):

'As a result, the market is flooded with graduates who are unable to pay back student loans. Most lawyers I know express similar views and all repeatedly tell friends and family members who are considering going to law school that they should not.'"


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