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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One Syllable Words and Tighter Writing

Today my author friend (and director of several Florida book fairs!) shares some of her tight writing knowledge.  I sometimes have trouble using pronouns when it would be clearer to use the specific noun, but overall it seems this article will be a reminder for many of us writers.

The Mighty Monosyllabic
Valerie Allen
We are told to write tight is to write well. Do not use three words when one will do. Use one strong verb to get the job done.

The above paragraph is an example of using one-syllable words to convey exact meaning. English has many powerful one-syllable words, 20 of which make up approximately 25% of all spoken English.

In order of frequency, the most often used one-syllable words are:
  • I
  • you
  • the
  • a
  • to
  • is
  • it
  • that
  • of
  • and
  • in
  • what
  • he
  • this
  • have
  • do
  • she
  • not
  • on
  • they
You can use the find feature on your computer to see how many times you have used these mighty monosyllabic words for tighter writing.

* * * *
Valerie Allen writes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, plays, and children's books. She is a popular speaker at writer's conferences, libraries, and community events using her book: Write, Publish, Sell! Quick, Easy, Inexpensive Ideas for the Marketing Challenged 2nd Edition.

She is co-founder of Authors for Authors, which supports new and experienced authors with book fairs, book launches, book displays, and writing seminars. Authors from across the US have had their books displayed at two Florida book fairs held in March and November each year sponsored by


Valerie Allen can be contacted via FB, Twitter, Google+ and at


 Carolyn Howard-Johnson edits, consults, and speaks on issues of writing and publishing. Find her at Find the second edition of her multi award-winning The Frugal Editor: Do-it-yourself editing secrets for authors: From your query letter to final manuscript to the marketing of your bestseller. (HowToDoItFrugally Series of Books for Writers). Learn more about her other authors' aids at , where writers find lists and other helps including , Great Little Last-Minute Editing Tips on the Resources for Writers page. She blogs on all things publishing (not just editing!) at her SharingingwithWriters blog. She tweets writers' resources at . Please tweet this post to your followers. We all need a little help with editing. (-:

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