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Do I Make Myself Clear?

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Do I Make Myself Clear?

Why Writing Well Matters

Little, Brown US,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Want to write gooder? Renowned editor Harold Evans provides a guide for writers at every level.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Engaging


Venerated editor, best-selling author and celebrated journalist Sir Harold Evans shares his thoughts about writing well and cultivating the ability to make yourself understood. Evans, now in his 80s, is the former editor of The Sunday Times and The Times of London, former head of Random House, and current editor at large for Reuters. His “10 shortcuts to making yourself clear” are an essential guide for any writer. Evans is intelligent and witty. But the answer to the title question – “Do I make myself clear?” – is sometimes no. Evans tends to salt his text with his pet peeves and political views. Nonetheless, his writing guide is an engaging read, and you will learn about the art of good writing. getAbstract recommends his advice to anyone putting thoughts and ideas on paper or screens. 


You Know It When You Read It

Good writing reverberates through your emotions and consciousness. Good writing stays with you, even if you don’t know exactly what makes it good or why it lingers. But bad word combinations take on lives of their own. Often you’ll hear or read a profusion of words that make ideas less clear – sometimes, it seems, intentionally. Whether published in an academic journal or a business letter – or in tweets and Facebook posts – any writing meant to put information and ideas into words can unintentionally confuse and drive away readers.

Writing briefly and clearly is hard. You may try to express an idea, but you find yourself adding more words, descriptions and modifications. Conveying ideas concisely, even if it means breaking grammatical rules, is an essential yet often underdeveloped skill.

Readability Formulas

As a newspaper reporter David Blundy worried about using the right words in the correct order to tell a story well. When writing about Honduran soldiers’ massacre of 300 peasants in El Salvador, he told the story in a narrative style from a peasant’s point of view. In six sentences, ...

About the Author

Sir Harold Evans, editor at large for Reuters, is a best-selling author and former editor of The Sunday Times and The Times of London.

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