What constitutes good writing? 

There are good writing and bad writing.  There are all kinds of writers, each with specific writing style.  However, before you become a famous writer, try to stick to the basic rules.


What constitutes good writing?  It is subjective.  I can only offer what I believe to be good writing.  Good writing is concise and focused, rid of unnecessary words and repetitive phrases.  Good writing is clear and unambiguous, with easily understood modifiers.  Clarity and precision are always desirable, while hollow prose and sluggish usage are lethal to good writing.  As stated by Strunk and White, vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.  Similar view was echoed by Ezra Pound that good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear.   


How do we write clear and unambiguous, with easily understood modifiers?  I would start with proper use of grammar.  Grammar makes up all the words and structures in a sentence.  There are eight parts of speech in the English language.  Proper use of grammar is the basic element for good writing.  Proper grammar makes it easy for your readers to understand what you are trying to portray. It teaches you to avoid dangling modifiers.  It helps to control the flow of writing and accurately convey your message.  It provides logic and clarity.  Poor grammar can make your writing sound incoherent, confusing and impossible to understand.  In addition to unclear message, bad grammar, such as misplaced modifiers or incorrect use of punctuation, often distorts the meaning of a sentence.  It will further irritate your readers when they have to decipher the meaning of your message.  It takes your readers away from the content of your writing and shifts their focus to your grammatical errors. 



Correct word usage contributes to good writing.  Colloquial English or street language is not what you should emulate in writing.  Accepting the degradation of language is false reassurance.  It is no different from accepting a lie when repeated often enough that it becomes a truth or what a Chinese proverb states that a statement when repeated by three people becomes a true statement. Be careful with spelling, and especially with homonyms.  Don't make your readers guess or promote improper use of words.  


Now, we understand the importance of good grammar and correct word usage.  I would like to point out the importance of staying focused.  Good writers always have a point in writing.  Without a theme, your writing will be vague and out of focus.  It will become a rambling mess.


There are many elements that contribute to good writing.  What I mention above are just some basic components. 


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