☝️ One Meaning, One Word

Don't overexplain your writing.

Today’s Writing Tip:

You should use only one word to convey a meaning.


Writers often use phrases like “quickly hurried”, “slowly meandered”, or “big and round”. Doing this makes for clunky prose. The need to reinforce your prose betrays your lack of confidence in your skills. Resist the urge to overexplain.

Of course, you can still use synonyms for poetic effect. This is just a general writing tip.


Here’s an example passage that uses multiple words to convey the same meaning:

  • Multiple words per meaning: “I slowly meandered my way to the opening of the door. When I peered inside, I was disgusted by the revolting sight of the hoarder’s basement.”

  • One word per meaning: “I meandered my way to the door. When I peered inside, I was revolted by the sight of the hoarder’s basement.”

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