From the works of Joseph M. Williams, John R. Trimble,
and Richard Lanham
Dr. Theresa Thompson
To be precise, make (good) choices.
Be precise: use “vigorous” verbs and SVO.
– The president commands the Military, so soldiers listen when he
Surprise readers: avoid overused phrases (clichés)
Be concise: readability depends on quality of words, not
– Get to the subject quickly, then get to the verb and its object quickly:
• “Vincent being an ‘in-valid’ and Irene being a valid you would think a love so
strong could not form.”
– Avoid long subject phrases. Revise a long subject into an introductory
• “Irene caring for him and helping Vincent to conceal his identity from the police
was essential because his arrest would have resulted in a failure of the mission.”
– Avoid sprawling subordination; reduce number of subordinate clauses:
• “Liz made it very clear to Gorgon that she would never betray him, which was
broken when she went to his apartment, but he knew the truth and made a smart
remark by telling her that he would tell her whenever he was about to leave.”
Use only the words you need to say what
1. Delete words that mean little or nothing.
It is easy to further suspect that Alec draws greater resolve form the
fact that because his work is completely unknown by the common
person their dependence is that much more important.
2. Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words.
"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over
again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece,
N.Y., May 24, 2005
3. Delete words implied by other words.
"Those who enter the country illegally violate the law." —George W. Bush,
Tucson, Ariz., Nov. 28, 2005
4. Replace a phrase with one word when possible.
A multiple of times = many times; in regards to = about
5. To Avoid Obvious Mistakes, change negatives to
“I don't want to run the risk of ruining what is a lovely recession” —George
Reduce metadiscourse: DO NOT
BELABOR THE OBVIOUS.
writer’s intentions: I will argue that, to sum up, I believe,
– I will argue that Vincent is a martyr.
The writer’s confidence: may, perhaps, certainly, must
– I believe Leamus and Liz shared true love.
directions to the reader: note that, consider now, as you see
– Do keep in mind, however, that a similar case could movingly be made
on her behalf.
– You can see the deceit in the novel….
structure of text: firstly, first, finally, therefore, however,as I
Paramedic Method: Seven Easy
1. Circle the prepositions.
2. Underline the “is” forms.
3. Ask: “Where’s the action?” “Who’s the
character?” “Who’s kickin’ whom?”
4. Put the verb in a simple (not a compound)
5. A diagram to help understand flow.
6. Start fast--no slow windups.
7. Read the passage aloud with emphasis &
Circle the Prepositions.
– Leamas seemed to have a way with people even though
he did not speak much; because Leamas seemed to have a
coercive nature he was able to convince certain people to
believe things even he himself did not understand, in
doing this Leamas betrayed himself, his country, and was
also betrayed by many people.
Underline the “is” forms (am, are, is, was, were,
been, be, being); put verb in simple form.
– An argument that many people make is that if Leamas
knew what the real assignment was he might not have
done such a good job at deceiving the person they were
really trying to get to which is Comrade Fiedler.
Ask “Who’s kickin’ whom?” Who’s the actor?
– A love so deep for your country that you would sacrifice
yourself is known as patriotism.
A Diagram Helps
and FIVE Prepositional Phrases???
Ask: WHO’S KICKIN’
The British Secret Service WHOM?
goes – Identify the actor and the
1. by the name main action.
2. of Control
3. which is all part Eliminate unnecessary
4. of an an effective nominalizations.
elaborate scheme to Reduce prepositional
discredit an effective East
German spymaster named phrases.
Fiedler who is a
communist spy and Break sentences when
protect his friend Mundt necessary.
who is a British agent but
who is actually Use simple verb forms.
5. in the East German secret
service. DIAGRAM AGAIN…?
The B. S. Introduction
B.S. = lots of generic statements with no direct
connection to topic or thesis.
As a child we are loved by many. Our family and friends show us
how to be loved and how to love. We are thought also about love for
the unseen. In some households this love could be for God or
Buddha, while in others this love could be for ones country. A love
so deep for your country that you would sacrifice yourself is known
as patriotism. During certain times our love for someone or our
country can be put to the test. Whether it’s trust during a relationship
or loyalty during war, our true and innermost feelings are reviled.
One essentially decides which his true love is; the love for country or
the love for intimacy during these times. Some can enjoy both, while
other must make a sacrifice. Alec Leamas, the main character from
the book The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John Le Carré, had
to choose between the love of his country and the love of his beloved
Liz. Ultimately Leamas choice resulted in his death.
To determine “flow,” use a flow
“Flow” refers to how 40
smoothly a reader moves 35
through paragraphs. 30
Vary the lengths and 25
Every group expects its 15
members to show that they 10
accept its values by 5
adopting its voice and 0
Chart sentence lengths.
Start fast--no slow windups. Just
Eliminate “blah blah is that” Eliminate slow-mo
My contention is that…
What I want to make clear is
that… There are…
The first is that…
The reason why is…
The point I wish to make is
that… The reason I did this is
My opinion is that… because…
The fact of the matter is As I already stated…
Edit? You DO need to edit.
Because that is what Victorian Society
bred into the minds of men, young and
old, plus society could have warped his
intentions beyond that of a loving
husband and more into what one must do
to maintain face? [Huh?]
Another example is the way control lies about
not knowing about the death of Riemeck when
it was control who had planned it to help keep
Mundt a secret because. [Huh?]