August 25, 2010


Rather, very, little, pretty--these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words. The constant use of the adjective little (except to indicate size) is particularly debilitating; we should all try to do a little better, we should all be very watchful of this rule, for it is a rather important one, and we are pretty sure to violate it now and then.

--Rule #8, "An Approach to Style", Elements of Style, by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White


  1. I find that I more tempted to use these qualifiers when writing online and in the blogosphere, message boards, and even in comboxes. When I am good about "murdering my darlings" I know my prose is better. But, in a "world" where people are so darn touchy, it is hard not to feel compelled to add those qualifiers which make your writing weaker just to keep from offending. Though, what's more likely to happen is that people will still be offended and you're stuck with weak writing;)

  2. Lol, I also find that my prose is better when I use verbs.