01 April 2008

How To Write

Let us look at a simple English sentence:

Ramu ate an apple.

Let us look at the structure of this sentence:

Ramu --> Subject
ate an apple --> Predicate

This is the most basic way of breaking up a sentence. The predicate can be further broken up into a verb and an object. Thus we have:

Ramu --> Subject
ate --> Verb
an apple --> Object

Let us look at the parts of speech of the key words in the sentence:

Ramu --> Noun
ate --> Verb
apple --> Noun

This Subject-Verb-Object (S-V-O) or Noun-Verb-Noun (N-V-N) structure is the most basic form of an English sentence. Write all your sentences in this form!

So the first rule is: Use short, simple sentences (S-V-O or N-V-N form). The corollaries to this rule are:
1. Do not use adjectives.
2. Do not use adverbs.
3. Do not use additional clauses.

And the second rule is: Use small, easy words. Do not use big, difficult words.

There are many more rules (you can find them in Rudolf Flesch's book), but these are the two most important. Simplicity, clarity, and brevity: these are the three things every writer should aim for. If you want to see the power of simple writing, just pick up any book by V S Naipaul – the greatest living writer of English prose.