7 key elements of micro-editing

Focusing on the smallest elements in text can have the biggest effect on your message’s clarity and impact.

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Typically, it deals with the “technical” aspects of the article, such as sentence structure, style, usage, spelling, grammar, and punctuation. For now we’ll set aside spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and look at seven other aspects of micro-editing:

1. Strive for clarity.

Does the reader understand what you are trying to say? No matter whom you write for, your audience will appreciate clear, concise language. Keep the writing lean and focused.

As Strunk and White say, “Make every word tell.”

2. Write compactly.

As writers, editors, and PR professionals, we must fight for readers’ attention. One way is to be brief. Omit needless words. Write in the active voice. Eliminate tepid modifiers, such as “really” and “very.”

In the words of Mark Twain: “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

3. Write simply.

Don’t use a complex word when a simple one will do. Unfamiliar or complex terms stifle comprehension and slow readers down. Readers may even skip terms they don’t understand, hoping to find their meaning in the rest of the sentence.

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