Boring Writing Makes the Internet Sad

Luckily, it’s not hard to make a few simple changes that will make your writing a lot better—without breaking a sweat. Here’s how.

Don’t rely on adjectives. The great irony of the English language is that adjectives are supposed to describe—but they often don’t do this effectively. Anyone can say Tad is funny—but if you say he made you laugh so hard you snorted your martini up your nose, then I really get the picture. Bottom line? Replace adjectives with actions or tell an effective story to demonstrate what you want to describe.

Mix up short and long sentences. Repetitive sentence structure is the number one cause of boring writing. Mix it up. Separate longer sentences with short, high-impact statements—and get your reader’s attention.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Go ahead—get a little crazy and start a sentence with a preposition. Your high school English teacher is no longer looking over your shoulder—so you can get away with it. But (see what I did there?) don’t make the mistake of throwing out the grammar baby with the bathwater. Break rules strategically for a more conversational tone—not because you don’t know the rule to begin with. Readers can tell the difference.

Get rid of word clutter. Redundant phrases like “absolutely essential” or “basic fundamentals;” filler words like “very” and “really;” any ineffective adjectives and adverbs—all of that has to go. The simpler your sentences, the stronger your message.

There’s plenty of writing out there that’s a slog to read—and that doesn’t do the people or organizations it represents any favors. But with a few quick tweaks, you can make your copy better without a big overhaul. Apply these tips, and you should see improved writing—and improved results.

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