I Know If You’re a Professional Writer

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As writers (professional or otherwise), we should all have the same goal: to hold our readers’ attention so they keep reading.

Here are five quick tips to eliminate some of the road blocks that can stop readers in their tracks.

1. Keep it tight
Edit out unnecessary words and phrases. (Contrary to some thinking, more words do not make you sound smarter or more eloquent.)

For example, instead of, “at this point in time, ” try, “today” or “currently.” Instead of, “I had the opportunity to meet,” say, “I met.”

2. Get it right
Learn how to correctly use “that” and “which” as well as “that” and “who.”

For example, it’s, “The dogs, which were barking loudly, looked dangerous.” And, “I prefer the person who had the great résumé.”

3. Get this right too
Use the words “less” and “fewer” correctly. If you can count it, use “fewer.” Otherwise, use “less.”

For example, “I have six fewer cookies and less milk than John.”

4. Careful with the caps
Job titles are (usually) only capitalized when they precede a name.

For example, “I admire Prime Minister Trudeau. He is the second-youngest prime minister we’ve elected.”

5. Make it easy on the eyes
Break your copy into multiple paragraphs, and use bullet points and numbered lists to create more white space. Even if your writing is brilliant, pages that are dense with words are intimidating to readers.