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How to Write Good

Nature has published novelist Cormac McCarthy’s tips on how to write a great science paper, and—surprise!—much of his advice just happens to be perfectly suited to everyday writing as well:

• Only use an adjective if it’s relevant.
• Try to avoid jargon, buzzwords or overly technical language.
• Use a personal tone because it can help to engage a reader.

I do have one tiny little nit to pick, however. “It’s more important to be understood,” writes McCarthy, “than it is to form a grammatically perfect sentence.” True, I suppose—but a grammatically perfect sentence will be understood. I mean, isn’t that why we have grammar?



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