Nothing left to take away

Posted on Posted in Advertising, Marketing, Random Thoughts

Use a strong voicing.

The phrase “I think” is quite often superfluous in any essay or article, since the author wrote the article one can only assume that EVERYTHING in the article is subject to that person’s bias and opinions, unless quoted or footnoted. The same might also be said for the phrase “I know,”  but that is perhaps subject to one’s writing style.  Leaving one or both of those phrases out of your writing will result in a stronger voicing and will make you sound like an authority in the subject you are writing about.  It is almost akin to adding “like” in random places to fill in the sentence.

Consider this example from an excerpt from The FENG Editorial:

“I know that many of us pride ourselves on being brief. Being a financial person I think in part is defined as being factual and to the point. Any member of our profession who had a tendency to rattle on would be viewed as a little odd, don’t you think?”

A stronger voicing would be to change that paragraph to:

“Many of us pride ourselves on being brief. Being a financial person in part is defined as being factual and to the point. Any member of our profession who had a tendency to rattle on would be viewed as a little odd, don’t you think?”

It is perhaps ironic that a paragraph about being brief had some extra words sprinkled in there, but that aside, the second version of this paragraph is much stronger and to the point. This circles back to my central theme of “Less is More,” which applies not only to design, but to writing as well.

You can tell a piece of work is done, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.1

1. This is my spin on a quote by Antoine de Saint-Exuper – Ch. III: L’Avion, p. 60 –  “Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher.”

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