Saturday, October 07, 2006

How to Write Well

When I was CEA chair, I sent cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 following guidelines to my staff as cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365y started drafting cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 Economic Report of cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 President. A friend recently emailed me a copy, and I thought I would share cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m with blog readers. They are good rules of thumb, especially for economists writing for a general audience.

ERP Writing Guidelines

  • Stay focused. Remember cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 take-away points you want cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 reader to remember. If some material is irrelevant to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365se points, it should probably be cut.
  • Keep sentences short. Short words are better than long words. Monosyllabic words are best.
  • The passive voice is avoided by good writers.
  • Positive statements are more persuasive than normative statements.
  • Use adverbs sparingly.
  • Avoid jargon. Any word you don’t read regularly in a newspaper is suspect.
  • Never make up your own acronyms.
  • Avoid unnecessary words. For instance, in most cases, change
    o “in order to” to “to”
    o “whecá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r or not” to “whecá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r”
    o “is equal to” to “equals”
  • Avoid “of course, “clearly,” and “obviously.” Clearly, if something is obvious, that fact will, of course, be obvious to cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 reader.
  • The word “very” is very often very unnecessary.
  • Keep your writing self-contained. Frequent references to ocá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365r works, or to things that have come before or will come later, can be distracting.
  • Put details and digressions in footnotes. Then delete cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 footnotes.
  • To mere mortals, a graphic metaphor, a compelling anecdote, or a striking fact is worth a thousand articles in Econometrica.
  • Keep your writing personal. Remind readers how economics affects cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365ir lives.
  • Remember two basic rules of economic usage:
    o “Long run” (without a hyphen) is a noun. “Long-run” (with a hyphen) is an adjective. Same with “short(-)run.”
    o “Saving” (without a terminal s) is a flow. “Savings” (with a terminal s) is a stock.
  • Buy a copy of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Also, William Zinsser’s On Writing Well. Read cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365m—again and again and again.
  • Keep it simple. Think of your reader as being your college roommate who majored in English literature. Assume he has never taken an economics course, or if he did, he used cá cược thể thao bet365_cách nạp tiền vào bet365_ đăng ký bet365 wrong textbook.