Make it simple

Go through your writing and see if you commit any of these Seven Deadly Sins of convoluted copywriting. Red pen ready? Go looking for:

  • Passive language: replace it with active. (“Passive language is hated by writers” becomes “Writers hate passive language.”)
  • Parentheses (sentences within sentences): break these into shorter sentences.
  • Cliches: “Kill as many cliches as you can. They are not an endangered species.”*
  • Long words: try a short one instead. Can you strike anything with more than three syllables?
  • Dead verbs: why “deliver improvement” when you can just “improve”?
  • Abstract nouns: make your idea relate to real people, things and places.
  • Nouns as verbs: waterfalls cascade, humans don’t. Nor do we action, impact or task.

Credit: See *Dominic Gettins, How to Write Great Copy and Claire Lynch’s excellent blog Good Copy, Bad Copy.