This page supplements material from my book 7 Steps to Better Writing. It provides videos that amplify the chapter “Step 6 – Revise.”
The internet provides an immense amount of information on English grammar. Probably no resource is as useful as engVid. Here are two of their videos covering the basics of English grammar.
My favorite video on grammar is Weird Al Yankovic’s Word Crimes.
Keep It Simple
In the following video, Deborah Bosley stresses the importance of clear, simple language. This is the heart of editing—improve what write so readers can read it quickly and understand it unmistakably.
One of the easiest ways to make your writing clear and simple is to focus on less and leave out what is not needed. The following 3 videos illustrate how to do this.
In the following video, Clare Lynch shows how to improve your business documents by leaving out the parts people skip.
In the following video, Lynch stresses the importance of making each sentence focus on one idea. She says the same should be true for each paragraph and each section.
In the following video, Lynch advocates using short paragraphs for business writing.
Sentence and Paragraph Structure
In the following video, Lynch shows how to make sentences more readable. She says:
- Use concrete nouns (rather than abstract nouns such as concepts)
- Use active verbs—avoid the “to be” verb
- Keep the subject and verb together
- Paint a picture
In the following video, Lynch shows how to make ideas flow from sentence to sentence and from paragraph to paragraph. The key is to move from familiar ideas to new ideas.
The following video discusses the importance of tone.
Example of Editing
Editing is hard to learn. It is complex. There are many things an editor needs to consider. And it is equally arduous to show others how to do it. Strong editing skills are acquired only after years of practice.
In the following video, Clare Lynch shows how she improves a letter that is dull, stuffy, and confusing. Her video requires careful attention, but Lynch illustrates how she decides what changes to make to improve the document. Although the piece remains imperfect after 25 minutes of editing, she has transformed it into something much better. As Lynch says, this is her first pass through the document—perfecting the letter will require more work.
Improve your revision skills. They are crucial to writing well. Keep learning, and keep applying what you learn.