It was rather upsetting to find that he very much didn’t greatly enjoy my famous pudding.

What is wrong with that sentence? What if I wrote it this way:

I was upset to find that he didn’t like my pudding.

Can you see it now?

“Rather, very, little, pretty- these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words…”

(Strunk & White)

The thing about qualifiers is that we all use them. We almost can’t avoid the little bastards. They suck the meaning out of sentences and leave them empty husks. Avoid them when you can- you know where they are.

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9 thoughts on “Make Your Sentences Powerful- Misunderstood Writing Advice

  1. Whoa. Now I am going to be a little scared to write for fear of breaking the mighty rules!!! I am really, really bad at using passive voice. And I’m kind of prone to weedy adverbs too. That’s one thing about Japanese – sentence structure is very prescribed (from what I remember). Subject, time, place, object, verb.
    Thank you for writing this article, I think that considering these things will improve my writing.

    1. Write in spite of the rules! It’s good for ya. Poetry is about making the rules work for you anyway. So go get ’em!
      Yeah Japanese can be that way- I remember having trouble writing sentences because they would be too direct, and in my efforts to correct this, not direct enough!

      Thank you as always for reading- I’m glad to be of any help!

  2. This memorable, insightful and quite authoritative article was very much appreciated, like a long walk on a sunny and pleasant autumn afternoon.

    Translation: Good. Me like.

    1. Hahaha

      I’m glad you liked it and said so in such poetic terms! I hope I can keep making content that lives up to this level of expectation for readers like you!

  3. I live by the rule that adverbs are generally redundant or useless if you use the correct verb. I like the rule of using metaphors instead of similes. It drives the action. I might add a rule: In general, if you use more than one preposition consecutively, one of them is redundant and not needed, e.g. “Went out on a limb,” “He came from up under the box,” “He ran out of the room”. These could be said simpler, e.g. “He ran from the room.”

    1. Absolutely right! I would say that a writer needs to think about these things before putting the pen to paper- sometimes those metaphors aren’t the best, other times they make it worth reading.

      It’s subjective, but always something to consider.
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment and for reading! Keep writing, my friend.

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