<title> Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace

Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace
Copyright. J M Williams, U Chicago Press, 1997 (edited to fit by jww) What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. --Samuel Johnson

  1. Thoughtful: your readers probably know less than you do about your subject; so you must be clearer than you think you need to be.
  2. Correct: Write not as the grammarians say you must write, but as writers you admire actually write.
  3. Clear: Put your important characters in subjects, then join those subjects with verbs that name their specific actions.
  4. Cohesive: Arrange the flow of information in each sentence so that you move readers from information that is familiar to them to information that is new.
  5. Coherent: Begin series of sentences in a unified passage in a consistent way, with words that your readers will think constitute a reasonable unified set of ideas. Do not begin sentences randomly.
  6. Emphatic: End your sentences on your rhetorically most salient, most powerful words. (Translation: emphasis at end of sentence.)
  7. Pointed: Cut, cut again, then cut once more.
  8. Flowing: Preserve connections betw. major grammatical parts:
    Avoid long subjects;
    Avoid interrupting connections betw. subject-verb & verb-object.
    If you must, interrupt with only a single word or short phrase.
  9. Shapely:
    Keep introductory clauses and phrases short.
    Keep subjects short.
    Create coordinated structures after short subjects.
    Avoid tacking a clause or phrase of any kind onto another just like it, and especially avoid tacking on a third one.
  10. Elegant: Create balanced and parallel phrases and clauses after the subject; in those phrases and clauses, echo one another's sounds, structures and ideas.

To cite this page:
Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace
[Sunday, 21-Oct-2018 21:22:12 EDT]
Edited by: wilkins@mps.ohio-state.edu on Thursday, 05-Jan-2006 09:57:54 EST