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BEBRIEF

http://Tran.httpcn.com 日期:2002-12-13 来源:51edit.com


Words such as rather, pretty, very, and little, are the leeches that infest the body of prose, sucking the blood of words. We should all try to do a little better, we should all be very watchful of this rule, for it is a rather important one and we are pretty sure to violate it now and then.

Empty introductions, hedges and modifiers are a few of the enemies of brevity. Maybe your readers could enjoy long-winded beginnings if they had the time, but hey, the light’s green. Watch out for:

1.Empty Introductions

People often tack empty introductions to their points, perhaps because they fear that their point will not be well received. Unfortunately, vacuous introductory phrases are more likely to annoy than to placate your reader. 

Even worse, these phrases imply that you are insecure or uncertain of your point.

Avoid introductions like these: 
the truth is that 
it seems to me
apparently 
it is obvious that 
as I recall 
the fact is that 
I also want to say that 
and all their meaningless cousins.

2. Hedges and Modifiers 

We also fatten up our work by hedging our points with namby-pamby modifiers like:
very pretty
little rather
almost likely
more or less seemingly
somewhat kind of 
mostly it would seem
in some respects for the most part
apparently for all intents and purposes
What’s wrong with hedges and modifiers? They block your points. If you are making a valid point clearly, then it is "apparent" "for all intents and purposes." As for words like "very" and "little", notice as you read whether they really add anything to your comprehension, other than an uncomfortable sense that the writer is "protesting too much."

Follow the advice of Strunk and White in their classic Elements of Style: “Cut! Cut! Cut!”.
 


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