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The K.I.S.S. Method

April 20, 2006

With this site’s gaining popularity, I’m guessing people other than aspiring writers are reading our posts. For the next couple weeks, I am going to address how any Mo Schmo can improve their writing in general areas like correspondence, speeches, and resumes. If you have any questions about grammar or additional writing conundrums, please feel free to leave a comment and I’ll address it next time.

I’m amazed by how many highly educated people are unable to write in easily understood sentences. Attorneys, doctors, and professors are the most obvious culprits. Straight out of college graduates also try too hard to make themselves sound important. People tend to forget that big words don’t necessarily score big points with their audiences. This leads to my first general writing tip:

The K.I.S.S. Method: Keep It Simple Stupid

Please don’t be offended. I’m not calling YOU stupid. However, I am strongly suggesting to not write a sentence containing twenty-five words when five will do.

For example: “I think I am highly qualified for the position of professional brown-noser, because I have spent many years studying the ways of government entities at an accredited institution of higher learning in the major of political science.”

Okay, so maybe I exaggerated while drafting the previous sentence, but I have seen too many cover letters where people strive for sophisticated, but instead sound silly.

Here’s the improved version: “My political science degree and high grade point average at I.O.U. University make me an outstanding candidate for the position of professional brown-noser.”

See the difference? Don’t be afraid to write simply. Simple writing doesn’t make you a simpleton; it makes you clearly understood.

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6 Comments
  1. April 20, 2006 9:53 am

    HAVE I MENTIONED LATELY I LOVE YOU GUYS!! Seriously!! Ya’ll come up with the BEST ideas!! Truly people, I’m not worthy of ya’ll!

    Wow, you couldn’t be MORE write, er right! *grin* People, and I include myself here, tend to think the bigger the word the bigger impression he/she will make on the reader. Wrong! That type of writing comes off pretentious and arrogant and turns people off – at least, it turns me off.

    That’s just ONE of the many challenging aspects of writing: keep it simple and yet make it interesting and compelling.

    I could go on and ON about this but I’ll leave room for others to comment. 😀

  2. April 20, 2006 10:04 am

    I couldn’t have said it simpler.

  3. April 20, 2006 10:19 am

    Ahhhh, I just love having a platform for my writing gripes. hehehe. We all do this though. After I published the post, I eliminated several unnecessary words. 🙂

  4. April 21, 2006 11:12 am

    I have to look back on much of my writing especially when I’m trying to impress someone or a group of people because I really, really, really want to make a good impression so I try to pack as much information into one sentence but all that it does is make the ideas just swell together and it makes them really hard to understand especially if I use a lot of pronouns because you can never be quite so sure what the pronouns refer to if the sentence goes on and on and on but sometimes a long sentence can be a great way to vary the texture of the writing.

    Yes, I wrote that all in one breath.

  5. April 22, 2006 2:00 pm

    I came visiting through 1000blacklines.blogspot.com/ – Glad he linked to this site. – I’ll be back.

    I like to K.I.S.S..

    I find myself writing endless sentences. I then go back through putting periods in to make 2-3 sentences. Sometimes it takes a bit of rewording and of course capitalizing where needed. It does simplify the reading. – I just did it with this paragraph. –

    P.S. Thesaurus.com is a Godsend for finding words to use.

  6. April 24, 2006 1:39 am

    What a simple concept. You should have told that one to the author of this ethics book I read in university. The entire book was full of run-on sentences, and not even one student knew what he talked about. In fact, the professor had to publish with his own notes along with the book, just so the students can follow along.

    Bloggers can also learn a great lesson from this simple idea. There are so many blogs out there with large paragraphs and 5 syllable words I cannot pronounce. In the end, I am sure most readers are lost. Thanks for the great advice!

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