Influence people

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tip #2 for the Business Writer

Choose the right modifiers
Part 2 of a 5-part series on writing well.


Modifiersthe words that qualify nouns and verbscan make or break your writing.


Like concrete nouns, modifiers can add precision your readers will appreciate.


But modifiers are tricky.


Use the right modifiers and your writing lifts off (think The Right Stuff).


Use the wrong modifers... use weak ones... use too many... or use clichés... and your writing fizzles.


As a rule, it's wise to omit modifiers, unless they add mojo to the nouns and verbs they qualify.


Here's an example (from Apple) of mangling your modifiers:


Sometimes life takes you by surprise. You’re reading a best seller on your iPad waiting for the morning train when you spy a gifted performer on the platform. Or you’re browsing the web on the couch when your dog trots by wearing your daughter’s tutu. The iSight camera on the new iPad lets you capture all these unpredictable, beautiful, and hilarious moments.


Does morning fortify the noun train? Only if the writer wanted us to think, "I can use my iPad while I commute."


Does iSight fortify camera? Positively.


Does new fortify iPad? Sure. No argument there.


Does gifted fortify performer? Nope. It's a cliché.


Do unpredictable, beautiful, and hilarious fortify moments? No. Once again, they're clichés.


How might the writer have better said this by omitting the modifiers?


Sometimes life takes you by surprise. You’re reading a best seller on your iPad waiting for the train when you spy a performer on the platform. Or you’re browsing the web on the couch when your dog trots by wearing your daughter’s tutu. The iSight camera on the new iPad lets you capture those moments.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.