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Nguyên tắc KISS trong viết tiếng Anh – Keep It Short and Simple

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Xem thêm bài: Cách viết tiếng Anh [và bất kỳ tiếng nào on earth] ngắn gọn, súc tích – Writing clear, concise sentences

Xem thêm bài: Cách biến hóa trong viết tiếng Anh (và cả tiếng Việt) để tránh nhàm chán – Variation in writing


To achieve greater clarity:

  • split long sentences (and paragraphs) into two or three shorter ones;
  • cut out unnecessary words – using active verbs where possible can help you do this;
  • replace overly complex phrasing with simple, everyday language;
  • use bullet points for lists of facts or information;
  • avoid ambiguous expressions.

See the the details of the principle below:

Don’t write this:

It furthermore seems appropriate to enable a preliminary regime with a control on the volume of products that are placed on the market using this procedure with their conformity assessment based on the results of initial compatibility studies.

Problem: long sentence (38 words) containing a lot of ideas; jargon (regime), incorrect usage (control)

Instead, write this:

There should be preliminary arrangements for limiting the volume of products placed on the market. Their conformity should be assessed on the basis of initial compatibility studies.

Solution: two shorter sentences (27 words) with one idea per sentence, fewer nouns

Don’t write this:

The final amount of the grant will depend on the implementation of the action in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement. It will be determined at the time of the payment of the balance and will correspond to the lowest of the amounts calculated under Article 10.

Problem: verbose (50 words) and over-complicated

Instead, write this:

The final amount of the grant depends on the action meeting the terms and conditions of this Agreement. The amount is calculated when the balance is paid. It corresponds to the lowest of the amounts calculated under Article 10.

Solution: three shorter sentences (39 words) with one idea per sentence, plain language

Don’t write this:

Strengthening of cooperation between national authorities further needs improving, as well as its intensity.

Problem: too many (abstract) nouns; impersonal, awkward grammar

Instead, write this:

National authorities need to work together more closely and more regularly.

Solution: more verbs, simpler grammar

Don’t write this:

The breach, by the beneficiaries, of their obligations pursuant to Article 1, may, if appropriate, lead to any of the measures provided under Article 6.

Problem: ambiguous and wordy; passive construction

Instead, write this:

If a beneficiary breaches its obligations under Article 1, the Commission may apply any of the measures in Article 6.

Solution: sentence shortened and restructured; ambiguity resolved by changing ‘beneficiar- ies’ to the singular; active voice used and both agents named

Don’t write this:

It goes without saying that our volunteers love their work.

Problem: wordy, redundant jargon at the beginning of the sentence (‘it goes without saying’). This kind of thing is called ‘throat-clearing’.

Instead, write this:

Our volunteers (clearly) love their work.

Solution: cut out words that are doing no work or adding little meaning to the sentence

 

SIMPLIFY!

Resist the temptation to use long words and expressions — short, simple ones are often the clearest.

This will contribute to improving the situation. This will help improve the situation.
Indeed, this will facilitate the monitoring of the trend by the Commission. This will help the Commission to monitor the trend.
The wider political dialogue gave national parliaments the possibility to play a role in shaping policy at EU level. Wider political dialogue enabled national parliaments to play a role in shaping EU policy.
The reason I am working for DG DEVCO is because I am interested in the EU’s relations with developing countries. I am working for DG DEVCO because I am interested in the EU’s relations with developing countries.
The number of women in management positions is lower in comparison to the number of men. There are fewer women than men in management positions.

Here are some simple alternatives to help you make phrases more concise:

with reference towith regard to

on the subject of

in relation to

about
accounted forby the fact that

due to the fact that

for the reason that

in view of the fact that

owing to the fact that

because
in case (that)in the event that

provided that

on condition that

where/when

if

To make texts clearer and more concise, use ‘if’ wherever you can to express a condition.

 If the temperature in your office this summer exceeds 30⁰C, you may work from home. (not ‘On condition that …’)

If you work from home, remember to transfer your calls from the office to your private line. (not ‘In the event that …’)

If you decide to work from home, please inform your line manager. (not ‘In case …’)

Readability test

Ask yourself:

  • Have you used the shortest phrase? Is all the information relevant?
  • Are any words or expressions redundant? Is there any unnecessary repetition?
  • Are there any ambiguities?

And finally …

  • Does the language sound natural?
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