“Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, Reduce selfishness, have few desires.” ~ Lao-Tzu
“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Poetry, as a genre, strives to say a lot in the fewest number of words. In that spirit, let’s see how we can improve our own prose using this general principle.
Simplicity has been abandoned. Our complicated lives spill over into complicated sentences, and in a world dominated by empty images, our writing becomes inflated, meaningless, and empty. We often use forty words when only four are needed. But, in spirit, each poem tries to “cut the fat” and use the fewest number of words for its ultimate purpose. This exercise has 2 parts.
Edit each passage below into its simplest form. You may add new words or simply omit unnecessary ones. To earn full credit for this exercise, you must express the same idea by using the fewest number words. I’ve done the first one for you. You don’t need to provide explanations as I’ve done, and I’ve even provided hints!
He is a man who left in a hasty manner.
Answer: He left hastily. (That “he” identifies as a man is fairly obvious, so “is a man who” is unnecessary. Further, “in a hasty manner” is just “
Best Answer: “He absconded.” (“abscond” means “to leave quickly”)
For my senior trip, I decided to travel around Europe by rail. The traveling companions I had were my friends Dustin and Halen. Who were my good friends from high school. (Hint: Sentences overlap)
Daniel, at the present time, is employed at a software company working as a marketing assistant due to the fact that he has a negative savings situation. (Hint: He is in debt.)
In my opinion, I think the most perfect solution is to scurry quickly beneath the fence in order to avoid being detected by the police officers. (Hint: If you write something, aren’t you thinking it and expressing your opinion? Does this need to be stated?)
A surge of power was responsible for the destruction of the coolant pumps. (Hint: Verbs are powerful.)
The transformer was struck by lightening. (Hint: Think active voice!)
When our progenitors reach their silver-haired and golden years, we frequently ensepulcher them in homes for senescent beings as if they were already among the deceased. (Hint: Wordy!)