Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Avoiding Intensifiers

Our last post discussed the writing crime of using intensifier words (such as so, very, more, really, truly, etc.) together with binary descriptive words (pregnant, bankrupt, unique and so forth).

Who am I kidding? The real crime is using any of these intensifier words at all. No writer worth a damn clutters up his sentences with flaccid words like very, totally, absolutely, definitely, completely or highly.

These words demonstrate nothing more than a writer's limited vocabulary.

Omit all needless intensifiers. Use one fitting word, not two or three ill-fitting ones. Your prose will sound forceful and direct, and your readers won't underestimate your intelligence.