Writer’s Quote Wednesday – William Strunk Jr.

One of the lessons that I learned in my journalism classes in college was that good writers eliminate unnecessary words.


WQW - William Strunk

This was one of the first lessons that Betty Arnold, my journalism professor, taught me and my fellow journalism majors our freshman year. Omitting unnecessary words was second only to the primary lesson: that journalists don’t make assumptions.  On the first day of Journalism 101, I learned that if I were ever to ass.u.me anything when writing a story that I would make an ass out of u and me.  And, it wasn’t too far into the semester that I discovered that the needless word I used the most was that.  I still remember Betty making each of us circle the repetitious words in our copy and reviewing them to see whether the circled words could be eliminated  or replaced.

What word or words do you use in your writing that can be eliminated without changing the meaning of your sentence?

Thanks to Colleen over at Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes for facilitating this weekly community event.

2 thoughts on “Writer’s Quote Wednesday – William Strunk Jr.

  1. Sorry for my delay in replying… it was over 70 degrees and I had to play in the dirt. Lynne, I enjoyed this quote! The problem with bloggers is, we tend to write like we speak. I still struggle with adding in words that I don’t need… so, very, that, then, etc. A great quote! Well done! ❤


  2. I love the little thing you did with the strikeouts showing you omitting the unnecessary word. Small touch, but effective nonetheless 🙂 And i agree with the quote. A lot of times, I don’t realize how many unnecessary words I use, and how I can still say what I want to say, in much fewer terms.


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