SoundEagle’s Writing Guidelines
Choose simple words or expressions over complicated or convoluted ones. Be concise. Be parsimonious in the number of words used to narrate a given situation. Words are like diamonds: when set properly they sparkle beautifully; when overused they become tawdry and boring. Consider each word as a cost: fewer words, less cost.
Desirable or Preferable
Convoluted or Unnecessary
|to rank/grade them||to grade/sort them by their relative importance/significance|
|an abrupt, large/voluminous torrent||a sudden outbreak of a very large torrent with voluminous flow|
|reduce mechanical overload and failure||enable reduction in mechanical overload and failure|
|starting a new activity||launching out into a new field of activity|
|exploring the new knowledge||journeying into the new sphere of knowledge|
|to persuade them more easily
to persuade them with greater ease
|to increase their degree of ease of being persuaded
to increase the degree of ease of them being persuaded
to increase the degree of ease with which they can be persuaded
Avoid the repetitious use of specific words or phrases. As a rule, avoid repeating yourself within 10 to 12 pages of a manuscript if possible. If there is something that needs to be restated, be creative and find another way to express it.
Avoid using slang, patois, dialect, creole, pidgin, colloquialisms, ungrammatical structures or rendering language with incorrect spelling unless the style or context warrants the use.
Use with care
|If it moves, shoot it; if it doesn’t, chop it down.||It’s so sick / cool / rad / wicked / rap / naff / uncool / twisted.|
|The result is as sure as eggs is eggs.||It sure was a crime.|
|That’s one helluva holy cow or golden goose.||I getcha / gotcha / betcha.|
|Wait any longer and you may miss the boat.||I wanna / gonna / gotta / hafta talk to you.|
|That’ll be the day!||How come she don’t show up? Coz she don’t care.|
|He couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag.||I gunna buy lotsa things there. How ‘bout ya?|
|He could sell boomerangs to the blacks.||She dunno, so lemme tell ya now for goodness sake!|
|It’s feeding time at the zoo.||Watcha / Waddya / Haya doin’?|
|I don’t give a frig! I was flat out like a lizard drinking.||You ain’t got nothin’ against tis fella. Doncha geddit?|
|What were you actually doing with those cornfed fruitcakes?||You kinda / coulda / shoulda / woulda / mighta / musta told her the secret. Yeah, me too. No, I didn’t. Me neither.|
|Give us a bloody chance to work it out or pull your bloody head in!||He always done the other thing. S’pose he opened his mouth — what then? If he didn’t shut it up powerful quick, he’d lose a lie, every time.|
|Howdy! Long time no see!||Aiyah, cannot wait any more, must go oreddy.|
|How come today you never hand in homework?||Better clean the room, otherwise you will kena.|
Avoid using clichés unless the style or context warrants the use.
Use with care
|A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush||A matter of life and death|
|Back to the drawing board||A stitch in time saves nine|
|Donkey’s years||By hook or by crook|
|Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched||Gather ye rosebuds while ye may|
|Food for thought||Half a loaf is better than none|
|For all intents and purposes||Here today and gone tomorrow|
|From the horse’s mouth||In one ear and out the other|
|In the final analysis||I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole|
|In any way, shape or form||More here than meets the eyes|
|Keep your fingers crossed||Much ado about nothing|
|Knee-high to a grasshopper||Neither rhyme nor reason|
|Land of milk and honey||Pay through the nose|
|Necessity is the mother of invention||Pull out all the stops|
|Pull a rabbit out of the hat||There’s more than one way to skin a cat.|
|That’s the way the ball bounces||There’s no defence like a good offence|
|You can’t teach an old dog new tricks||You can’t have your cake and eat it|
|And they live hapilly ever after||It was a dark and stormy night|
|All hell broke loose||Once bitten twice shy|
Use neutral language instead of discriminatory vocabularies or sexist labels.
To be avoided
|natives, aboriginals, indigenous people||primitives, savages, uncivilised people|
|mentally disabled / challenged||mentally retarded / stunted / inferior|
|the average person||the man on the street|
|flight attendant||steward / stewardess|
|bartender||barman / barmaid|
|athlete, sportsperson, sports player||sportsman|
|mail carrier, letter carrier, post worker||mailman|
|human hour, work hour||man hour|
|human power, labour force/power||manpower|
|human-made, created by humankind||man-made, created by mankind|
To be avoided
|They are exactly identical.||This is a new initiative.|
|The place is shrouded in quiet silence.||It is even more faster than that.|
|It is without any doubt that the patient will die for sure.||He was fatally murdered.|
|The situation can be deadly lethal.||Please return the books back to the library.|
|Both events happened in the same time period.||She is very much in agreement with her own self.|
|It happened in the month of July and in the year of 1998.||Participation in this activity is exclusive to members only.|
|I went up three flights of stairs in order to go up to the massive lounge room.||It is inevitability that the event will always occur sooner or later.|
|The chief drawback of the unit is that it lacks storage space, which means that the space available for storing things in the unit is limited.||Mary: I shall always love you.
Henry: And I too shall always love you.
|The villagers are very keen to preserve their tradition and way of life, and are therefore very reluctant to move forward with time.||Peter: I did not take the liberty of taking a detour.
Simon: Neither did I take the liberty of taking a detour.
Tammy: Nor did I take the liberty of taking a detour.
|The spirited party of five departed for the shops via a longer promenade and in the process they could able to better appreciate the scenic view on the way to the shops.||What you can do for us is to get some books out of the cupboard and put them on the table for us to read over there. What you can then do is to go and choose one book that you like and start reading that book.|
Ensure relevancy and consistency of technical information.
Domains or areas that may require or involve technical information
Descriptions or Instrumentations
Directions or Instructions
Protocols or Procedures
Methods or Methodologies
Jargons or Terminologies
Surveys or Enquiries
Analyses or Proofs
Be sure to use technical information that proves to the reader an intimate knowledge of a subject. Include references or citations where necessary or appropriate.
Examples of technical information
|Whitmore’s outstanding performance was immediately hailed as the most piquant rendering of Scriabin’s fifth piano sonata — on account of his dynamic interpretation that emphasizes even more of the work’s ground-breaking features that indeed set it apart from Scriabin’s earlier sonatas.|
|People with full autism have a very strong need to always “feel at home in one situation or another”. Autism is a spectrum “disorder” in which Asperger is known as a subset of autism.|
|As the image indicates, the ISEA model serves to map attributes of the four perspectives onto a two-dimensional field that functions as an axiological chart — a heuristic cartography for investigating human-Nature relationships through the identification and visualisation of fundamental differentiations within and between the four perspectives. Relatedness is conveyed via spatial relations such that differences among attributes are reflected by where they are located with respect to each other in the ISEA model.|
|The perspectives polarized along both axes represent opposite ends of ideological or philosophical spectrums concerning human-Nature relationships. Briefly stated, the Instrumental↔Spiritual axis distinguishes the perspective that values the natural world in means-end rationales and anthropocentric terms (the Instrumental perspective) on the one hand; and the perspective that attaches importance to deep empathy and identification with Nature (the Spiritual perspective) on the other.|
|The Pro-Environment↔Pro-Animal/Plant axis distinguishes the perspective whose concerns about Nature take the form of an organismic or biocentric emphasis on the rights and welfare of nonhumans (the Pro-Animal/Plant Perspective) on the one hand; and the perspective whose concerns are informed by a more systemic or ecocentric understanding of an ecosphere/ecosystem and its internal interrelations (the Pro-Environment perspective).|
|If the concept requires that a situation (or) music be experienced aphoristically at a seaside, then that experience (even the mere thought of the situation) constitutes the musical product for which the concept provides a necessary foundation, instruction, catalyst, context, idea or starting point. The conceptual message itself, however indirectly connected to music in the conventional sense, supersedes any role or significance that may be attached to the sounds that one may feasibly encounter or generate in the situation.|
Check spelling, grammar, logic, punctuations, abbreviations and acronyms.
Proper or Preferable
Problematic or Undesirable
|They pray and repent into the night as if there were no tomorrow.||They prey and repent into the knight like there is no tomorrow.
They prey and repent into the night like tomorrow is no more.
|They have misunderstood and punished him even though he has been kind and wise beyond his years.||They have misunderstood and punished him because he has been kind and wise beyond his years.
Since he has been kind and wise beyond his years, they have misunderstood and punished him.
|These vegetables are not grown organically as are those found in certified grocery stores.||These vegetables are not grown organically as they are in certified grocery stores.
These vegetables are not grown organic like you get in certified grocery stores.
These vegetables are not grown organically like those in certified grocery stores.
These vegetables are not (as) organic as they are in certified grocery stores.
|I was badly bullied just as my sister was.||I was badly bullied like my sister was badly bullied.
I was badly bullied just like my sister.
I was badly bullied in an identical way to my sister.
I was badly bullied like how my sister was.
Me and my sister were bullied bad.
My sister and I were badly bullied like each other.
|I find that writing about myself is the toughest thing.||Writing about myself is the toughest thing I find to do.|
|Peter asked “Who is this?” and Simon answered “This is I.”||Peter asked “Who is this?” and Simon answered “This is me.”|
|Peter uttered “He looks like I.” and Simon added “You do look like he.”||Peter uttered “He looks like me” and Simon added “You do look like him.”|
|The woman is a little taller than he (has ever been).||The woman is a little taller than him.|
|If you were I, could / would you commit such deeds?||If you are me, can / will you do such things?|
|There are many kinds of fruits, such as apples, oranges and lemons.||There are many kinds of fruits, e.g. apples, oranges, lemons, etc.|
|The World Health Organisation (WHO) is planning to conduct a large-scale Socioeconomic and Population Survey (SPS) and to introduce several new Health Education Longitudinal Projects (HELPs) across a number of third-world countries. The main objectives of the WHO include ensuring that the SPS and HELPs run smoothly under different socio-political regimes and cultural expectations.||The World Health Organisation is planning to conduct a large-scale Socioeconomic and Population Survey and to introduce several new Health Education Longitudinal Projects across a number of third-world countries. The main objectives of the W.H.O. include ensuring that the S.P.S. and H.E.L.P.s run smoothly under different socio-political regimes and cultural expectations.|
Beware of common grammatical problems or pitfalls. “Bad” English is not necessarily or always one where the usage is different, informal or colloquial; it is, and can be, anything that reduces the quality, comprehensibility, clarity, logic and/or expressive strength of a manuscript.
Proper or Preferable
Improper or Less Preferable
|Since (or As or Now that) the living standard of those people has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.
Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments since their living standard has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity.
The living standard of those people has been improved significantly by the advent of electricity. As a result, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.
|With the living standard of those people being improved significantly by the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.
With significant improvement in the living standard of those people since the advent of electricity, they begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments.
Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments, with their living standard being improved significantly by the advent of electricity.
Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments due to their living standard being improved significantly by the advent of electricity.
Those people begin to seek out better amenities and more sophisticated entertainments, (with) their living standard having been improved significantly by the advent of electricity.
|Owing to the increase in cars and buses, the air pollution has worsened.
With the increase in cars and buses comes the worsening air pollution.
As a result of the increase in cars and buses, the air pollution has worsened.
The increase in cars and buses has worsened the air pollution.
The air pollution has worsened because of the increase in cars and buses.
The increase in cars and buses has caused (or has resulted in) the worsening air pollution.
There has been an increase in cars and buses, causing worsening air pollution.
There has been an increase in cars and buses, causing air pollution to worsen.
|Due to the increase in cars and buses, the air pollution has worsened.
With the increase in cars and buses, the air pollution has worsened.
With there being an increase in cars and buses, the air pollution has worsened.
With cars and buses increasing in numbers, the air pollution has worsened.
The increase in cars and buses means that the air pollution has worsened.
Cars and buses are on the increase, which means that the air pollution has worsened.
The increase in cars and buses tell/show us that the air pollution has worsened.
There has been an increase in cars and buses, an increase that has worsened the air pollution.
There has been an increase in cars and buses, an increase that has caused the air pollution to worsen.
|He is the person to whom she looks up.
He is the person whom she looks up to.
He is the person to look up to.
|He is the person she looks up to.
He is the person who she looks up to.
He is the person to whom to look up.
|This was the moment that he waited a long time for.
This was the moment for which he waited a long time.
He waited a long time for this moment.
|This was the moment he waited a long time for.
This was the moment which he waited a long time for.
He waited for this moment a long time.
|The standard and frequency of performances there are much higher than those of the local region. In addition, the multipronged approach can help art event/festival organizers to raise local interest and participation in contemporary avant-garde music.||The standard and frequency of performance there are much better than the local region. What’s more, the multiple ways of doing things can help art event/festival organizers raise local interest and participation in contemporary music that is way far out there.|
|That this magnificent historical building from the Renaissance period has survived when so many others have disappeared is difficult to explain.||The reason for the continual existence of this magnificent historical building from the Renaissance period when so many others have disappeared is difficult to say for certain.|
|You can assist in the preparation for the occasion. I am soon ready to get some books out of the cupboard and put them on the table for us to read. After that, please go and choose one that you like and start reading.||You can help prepare for the occasion. What I am ready to do soon is get some books out from the cupboard and put them up the table for us to read. Please go choose the one you like and start to read it.|
|Since reading outside the house is no more difficult than it is inside, and since she enjoys Nature, she is increasingly fond of reading aloud in the courtyard. She has a particular liking for the works of Shakespeare. As usual she strolls to the courtyard this morning. Already waiting at a secluded spot, her brother feigns not to pay any attention to her wont but intends to annoy her in one or more clever ways, for he derives his satisfaction from playing an ingenious prank. He will only be satisfied when an impish, roguish act is done. Having successfully accomplished yet another “mission” at his sister’s expense, he promptly retreats indoors to relive and savour the moments that he had just experienced outdoors, moments freshly engineered for his own amusement. Increasingly confident, he resolves to realise such a plan at least twice a week, should this be within his power.
zero occurrence of “with” and 150 words in total
|With reading outside the house being no more difficult than inside, she is increasingly fond of reading aloud in the courtyard with a particular liking for the works of Shakespeare. As usual with her, she strolls to the courtyard this morning. As with her brother who is already waiting at a secluded spot, he pays no attention to her wont, but with an intention to annoy her with one or more devious ways. Satisfaction to him will only be achieved with an ingenious prank. He will only be satisfied with committing an impish, devilish act. With yet another “mission” being completed successfully at his sister’s expense, he promptly retreats indoors with the sole purpose of reliving and enjoying in his mind the favourite times of what happens outside earlier, which he has recently engineered for his own amusement. With his confidence increasing, he resolves himself to make this happen with a frequency of at least twice a week, by hook or by crook.
12 occurrences of “with” and 163 words in total