Clarity Tips

  1. Be concise; delete needless words. Inversion
  2. Choose the right word carefully; favor the short word over the long.
  3. Do not needlessly repeat words, phrases, or ideas; do not repeat what is needed for clarity.
  4. Favor the active voice over the passive.
  5. Be specific, use concrete terms, and avoid abstract nouns (shun “-tion”).
  6. Avoid dangling modifiers; place modifiers as near as possible to what they modify. 
  7. Take care in the placement of parenthetical phrases.
  8. Avoid shifts in subject, number, tense, voice, or viewpoint.
  9. Express parallel thoughts through parallel construction.
  10. Arrange thoughts logically; work from the simple to the more complex.

Source: Hansen (1991). Random piece of paper collected from the pile of graduate school notes that have been residing on the floor of my home office.

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