No matter what one writes, no matter how carefully one tries to articulate it, a non-trivial segment of the readership will interpret it differently from what one intended - J.B. Rainsberger
Words to Avoid
There’s a lovely and beautifully self-demonstrating description of how punctuation marks work stylistically in Lewis Thomas’s little piece on Punctuation.
I have grown fond of semicolons in recent years. The semicolon tells you that there is still some question about the preceding full sentence; something needs to be added; it reminds you sometimes of the Greek usage. It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period. The period tells you that that is that; if you didn’t get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along. But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; to read on; it will get clearer.
Avoid Protracted Introductions
Undue emphasis on relatively unimportant matters before getting to the heart of the problem is not a great way of writing.
Use First, instead of “First or all”
Use First, instead of “The first point I want to make is”
Use Next, instead of “What I want to do next is”
Use it, there, and what considerations carefull
An expletive is a place holding word such as it, there, and what that fills a vacancy in a sentence without adding to its meaning. A common type of wordiness results from beginning sentences with it is, when it is used as an expletive.
On Writing Well
Week 1: Please read the Introduction, Chapter 6, “Purpose,” and Chapter 11, “The Writing Process.”
Week 2: Chapters 8, 9, and 10: Organization, Support, and Coherence
Week 3: Chapters 1, 2, and 3: Economy, Precision, and Action
Week 4: Chapters 4, 5, and 7: Music, Personality, and Point of View