Elements of Writing


Brevity is not inherently virtuous, but neither is verbosity a pedagogical deficiency. Simplicity is just more accurate, and understatement is inevitably more artistic than prolixity. Clear thoughts are harder to compose than an eclectic construction of excessive words. Just as a drawing should have no unnecessary lines, and a machine should have no extra parts, so a paragraph should have no unnecessary sentences. The writing craft can spare no essential elements in a vital expression; but style is as subordinate to the subject as the medium is incidental to the message.