William Zinnsser’s Simplicity is a straightforward criticism of the American style of writing for its tendency to be filled with unnecessary words. Zinnsser explains how clutter can make it difficult for the reader to understand the key points that the writer is trying to make. He also points out that not everyone knows how to write without cluttering his or her texts.
Writing concisely it is a challenging skill that can be learned through self-discipline. Simplicity works as a guide to help writers achieve what Zinnsser considers to be good writing.
Although Zinnsser gives many critsims in his work Simplicity he explains ways that one can become a better writer. He also does not underestimate how difficult writing without clutter can be. He explains that one can become a more concise writer through self-disciple and hard work. Zinnsser states: “Good writing doesn’t come naturally, though most people obviously think it does…Good writing takes self-discipline and, very often, self-knowledge” (Zinnsser, 1980). It is noble that even through his criticism, Zinnsser still finds a way to reassure the reader that there is always room for improvement.
According to Zinnsser the most effective way to become a better writer is to limit the clutter in their sentences and focus on the message. In reference to this Zinnsser explains this idea when he states: “Clutter is the disease of American writing. We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon” (Zinnsser, 1980). Zinnsser does a great job at explaining that simplicity is key when it comes to writing. Unnecessary words can taint a good piece of work.
William Zinnsser’s Simplicity acts as a remarkable guide for those who want to improve their writing. He criticizes American’s style of writing but he also gives a simple solution to the problem: get rid of the clutter. Through his work, Zinnsser effectively explains that simplicity is key when it comes to good writing.
Zinnsser , W. (1980). Simplicity. http://cgiss.boisestate.edu/~billc/Writing/zinsser.html
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