Want to be a better writer? Learn to “write small.”

Great writers know how to pack loads of meaning and emotion into the fewest possible words. Ernest Hemingway’s works contain powerful examples of small writing. He was once challenged to tell an entire story in only six words. Here’s how he did it:

“For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

In six words, he told a complete story in our minds—a story of a child lost. Did the child die? If so, how? Grief. Sadness. A mother’s desire to move on with her life. Were there money problems?

That which was not said makes that which was said all the more significant. This is the power of small writing.

A key component of writing small is to edit long phrases into shorter ones. Here are some examples that you can use right away to help put small writing principles into action on your next writing project!

a majority ofmost
a number ofsome, many
at an early datesoon
at the conclusion ofafter, following
at the present timenow
based on the fact thatbecause
check outcheck
despite the fact thatalthough
due to the fact thatbecause
during the course ofduring
during the time thatduring, while
have the capability tocan
in connection withabout
in order toto
in regard toregarding, about
in the event ofif
in view of the fact thatbecause
it is often the case thatoften
it is our opinion thatwe think that
it is our recommendation thatwe recommend that
it is our understanding thatwe understand that
make reference torefer to
of the opinion thatthink that
on a daily basisdaily
on the grounds thatbecause
prior tobefore
relative toregarding, about
so as toto
subsequent toafter
take into considerationconsider
until such time asuntil

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