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Unformatted text preview: ryone. Revise. Nobody gets it perfect on the first try. Learn how to cut ruthlessly. Never become too attached to your words. Find a good editor! Reading list Reading list **Read, pay attention, and imitate. My favorite sources of good writing… • The New Yorker • The New York Times • How many read the NY Times Tuesday Science section? Nature • Science • Term Paper Term Paper Clear writing starts with clear thinking. Term Paper Term Paper Before you start writing, ask: “What am I trying to say?” When you finish writing, ask: “Have I said it?” Term Paper Term Paper Once you know what you’re trying to say, then pay attention to your words! Today’s lesson: Strip your sentences to just the words that tell. The Elements of Style, William Strunk Jr. (available online at: http://www.bartleby.com/141/): “Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” Term Paper Term Paper “The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components. Every word that serves no function, every long word that could be a short word, every adverb that carries the same meaning that’s already in the verb, every passive construction that leaves the reader unsure of who is doing what—these are the thousand and one adulterants that weaken the strength of a sentence. And they usually occur in proportion to the education and rank.” Term Paper Term Paper Famous Example: – “Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non­Federal buildings occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination.” – (from a government blackout order in 1942) Term Paper Term Paper FDR’s response: – “Tell them that in the buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.” Term Paper Term Paper Example 2: – “Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.” (example by George Orwell; quoted in Sin and Syntax) Term Paper Term Paper Example 2: – “I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” (Ecclesiastes) Help! Help! This was the first sentence of a recent scientific article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (Introduction section): “Adoptive cell trans...
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