Less Is More: Striving for Simplicity of Expression
 
“If you would be pungent, be brief. For it is with words as with sunbeams: The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.” — Robert Southey 

“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” — William Strunk, Jr. 

“Any addition to the truth is a subtraction from it.” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn 


In general, the best writing is simple and direct. Writing that is simple and direct is most easily understood. It also tends to be the most forceful and memorable. Use no more words than necessary — and never use a complicated word if a simpler one will do just as well. 

Many people seem to feel that writing in a complicated way makes one sound serious, scholarly and authoritative. While this type of writing may sound serious, it is no more authoritative than writing that is simple and direct. Certainly, it is more difficult to understand. Often, it sounds
pompous and overbearing. If your purpose is to be understood, in a way that is both forceful and memorable, adopt a style that is simple and direct. 

How can you achieve such a style? One technique is to use conversation as your guide. Pretend that you are explaining something, over the telephone, to someone you know: a parent, a friend, a significant other — someone who is not an expert in whatever it is that you are writing
about. You only have a few seconds to get your point across. What would you say? Read it out loud, to see whether it would work under those circumstances. If it seems to you that it would not, keep rewriting until it seems to you that it would.