Do I Make Myself Clear? Book Summary By Harold Evans

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Do I Make Myself Clear? (2017) is a modern must-read for anyone wanting to communicate more effectively in this confusing world where facts are often hidden behind deliberately misleading words and intricate jargon.

This enlightening book provides readers with the key tools to help them master the art of clear and concise communication.

Whether they're politicians, marketing executives, or authors, all communicators should put an emphasis on delivering messages that are meaningful and understandable - even if they're discussing complex topics.

This book ensures that those who read it will become better at helping others find the truth amongst all the noise out there.

Do I Make Myself Clear

Book Name: Do I Make Myself Clear? (Why Writing Well Matters)

Author(s): Harold Evans

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 19 Minutes

Categories: Communication Skills

Author Bio

Harold Evans is the author of the widely acclaimed book, Do I Make Myself Clear? The British journalist and editor has had a long and illustrious career in journalism and publishing.

He spent fourteen years as an editor for the Sunday Times where his work won him numerous awards.

He then went on to serve as president and publisher at Random House, US for seven years before receiving a knighthood in 2004 in recognition of his exceptional service.

Evans is highly respected for his editorial skills, deep understanding of language, and passion for crafting compelling stories that draw in readers.

How To Make Your Writing Cleaner And Clearer: Tips On Writing With Clarity And Brevity


In today’s world of seemingly limitless writing and digital communication, it can be difficult to make your words count.

Trying to explain important matters in dense legal language, or reading boring academic papers with jargon and obscure vocabulary, can often leave you asking “Do I Make Myself Clear?”

That’s why it is so important to take the time to focus on clear and concise communication that gets your point across in an effective way.

Nailing this will not only improve your writing style but also rediscover the beauty and importance of clarity in the process.

Learn why you should avoid using the passive voice for maximum impact, remove any unessential words that tend to cloud your message, as well as how to manage pesky “zombies” and “flesh-eaters.” With these rules of clear communication reprogrammed into your arsenal, know that you’ll get your message across with greater ease than ever before!

The Benefits Of Clear Writing: From William Shakespeare To The New Republic – A Look At How Writing Can Improve With Dedication And Effort

Often, it’s easy to find examples of bad writing on the internet.

From press releases that use long words and phrases like “cross-functional collaboration” and “metabolism perspective”, to TV news and academia that are full of flowery language but lack substance; it’s everywhere.

But great and clear writing is not just bestowed upon those born with a talent for it Ė although, it can help!

William Shakespeare is the perfect example of someone dedicated to improving his craft.

His earlier works tend to have been more basic, but if you look at later plays like King Lear or The Tempest, you can see the progress he made over time.

Good writing is something that anyone with determination and hard work can learn.

You too can learn how to write better.

In this book, we will explore tips and tools available today that you can use to sharpen your skills as a writer.

By applying these ideas wisely, you will soon be able to create your own clear, engaging works – maybe even better than good ol’ Bill himself!

Don’T Rely Solely On Readability Indexes For Clear Communication In Writing

When writing, it’s important to be aware of traditional sentence structures and readability indexes.

These can provide useful guidelines for clear communication and can help you understand how well your writing is being understood.

However, they shouldn’t be overly relied upon; if all your sentences are structured the same way or you use too many adverbs or adjectives, it might make your sentences dull.

Moreover, these indexes can only provide an insight into your writing; for example, Flesch’s formula will tell us that the ideal sentence has an average of 18 words but won’t be able to tell the overall clarity of a piece of work perfectly.

Overall, it’s important to remember that these guides should only serve as a starting point when creating your writing pieces.

You have to make sure that each thought is expressed clearly but also in an interesting and engaging way – don’t just write one boring short sentence after another!

The Importance Of Using The Active Voice And Avoiding Front-Loading Sentences For Clear And Effective Writing

Effective Writing

Good writing always starts with good sentence structure.

According to Harold Evans, in his book “Do I Make Myself Clear?” the passive voice should be avoided, as it adds needless words and strips away the urgency and command of the active voice.

Writing in an active voice focuses more on the doer a point is being made about, rather than emphasising the receiver of such statement.

Using this approach, instead of writing something like “Given the problems of unfriendly climate, poor infrastructure, various militant groups vying for bribes and a lack of refrigerated trucks, it was difficult for the government to transport food to the village” you could simply say “Transporting food to the village was difficult due to an unfriendly climate, poor infrastructure etc.”.

This allows readers to discern what you want to say with much less effort.

Another important tip that Harold Evans provides is ensuring that your sentences aren’t too long or front-loaded i.e.

don’t cram too many unnecessary words into a single sentence before getting your point across.

Doing this can be very confusing and will have readers unable figure out what you’re trying to convey without having to read through countless words first.

If you take these tips on avoiding front-loading your sentences and overusing the passive voice into account when writing, you’ll be able to make sure your message is clear and understood by anyone reading it!

Write With Clarity And Precision: Avoid Unnecessary Words And Abstract Nouns

Writing with clarity and precision is essential if you want your message to be known, understood and remembered.

To make sure that your writing is as effective as possible, you must be willing to interrogate your sentences and remove any unnecessary words, such as adverbs, adjectives and parasitical prepositions.

Adverbs usually have an -ly at the end of them (eg.

exactly, precisely) and fail to add any value or meaning to a sentence.

So whenever you catch yourself using one, do yourself (and the reader!) a favour by taking it out altogether.

Instead of saying “the price was exactly five dollars”, just say “the price was five dollars”.

This applies to adjectives too – they should also be used sparingly so that the reader gets straight to the point.

Another type of useless word gathering dust in your writing are parasitical prepositions, like “up” or “out” after perfectly functional sentences – these can simply be cut out completely.

Instead of saying “let’s meet up at the cafe and test out the new app,” why not save a few words and write “let’s meet at the cafe and test the new app!”

Abstract nouns are another form of muddying written communication -these words have no concrete definition so they don’t help bring clarity into a sentence and should be avoided altogether.

Examples of abstract nouns include: regard, indication facilities issue etc…

As much as possible try to be specific about how you feel- don’t say you “take issue” with something but instead explain exactly how it makes you feel!

How To Write With Style And Avoid Common Writing Pitfalls

One of the main goals in writing is to be clear.

This means avoiding double negatives and overusing not’s, since these can be misunderstood and make your writing confusing.

It also means turning negative sentences into positive ones as much as possible to give readers an accurate understanding of what’s being said.

Speaking of accuracy, good writing should typically be concise and effective.

A few well-crafted sentences with varying form, function, and style will always keep your reader engaged more than a long one-shot with dry and mechanical language.

To contrast dull writing, use simple statements like “She got in the car and drove away” then spruce up your next sentence with something actionable like “Attention, reader!

Why not break things up by throwing in a question every once in awhile?”

Consider also using loose or periodic sentences to add variety.

They’re both conversational and great at emphasizing a point while balanced sentences have a smoother flow that can bring the desired effect without distracting from it – which all makes for clear writing that engages the reader.

Zombies, Flesh-Eaters And Clichés: How To Avoid The Most Common Writing Mistakes

Writing Mistakes

Zombie nouns, verbose flesh-eaters and stale expressions can be the death of your writing.

Zombie nouns are words that have been transformed from a verb to a deadly sentence-ruining noun – for example, “implement,” “document” or “authorize.” In addition, zombie adjectives – such as “applicability” and “forgetfulness” – can turn into redundant words.

It’s best to do a search of your work for any zombie nouns ending in “-ation,” “-ance,” “-mant,” “-ment,” “-ence” and “-sion.”

Flesh-eaters are equally dangerous words and phrases – they are useless and can ruin an entire sentence.

Common examples include saying “in the possession of” instead of “has,” or using “concerning the matter of” when you could use, simply, “about.” Flesh-eaters are often found in legal documents which is why reading contracts can be so tiresome.

Finally, be aware of classic cliches that should avoid whenever possible if you want your writing to sound fresh and original.

Trust us – this isn’t always easy but it’s definitely worth taking the time to come up with unique expressions instead of rehashing old ones.

Fighting The War On Truth: The Importance Of Using The Right Words

George Orwell wrote about the dangers of Newspeak augmenting the power of a totalitarian government.

Little did he know that his book 1984 may be arriving earlier than expected, as previously unimaginable deeds are happening even today.

The truth has been dangerously manipulated by politicians to their own advantage, as evidenced by Donald Trump’s false claims.

However, it is important to note that we still have the power to oppose this with good writing.

By understanding and carefully articulating the meaning behind words and statements, we can ensure that facts cannot be twisted or distorted.

As long as we recognize and appreciate how meaningful words can be, then good writing is a powerful antidote to a post-truth society.

After all, both Hannah Arendt and Jonathan Swift wrote about the dangers of ‘the political lie’.

Good writers are sharp thinkers who understand exactly what effect their choice of words will have on an audience and the implications that they may have in the context of real life events – rather than blindly using them just for convenience or expediency.

Ultimately it falls upon us to stay vigilant against any intentional attacks on truth with effective use of language – whether it’s knowing when to use “effect” or “affect,” “continual” or “continuous,” “loan” or “lend,” or “reign” or “rein”.

The Power Of Language: How Bad Writing Can Cost Billions And How Good Writing Can Protect The Truth

Good Writing

Politicians and banks know that bad writing is an effective way to make money and push forward their harmful agendas.

While some may think that the correct usage of a few words won’t make a big difference, recent events show that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Take the global recession of 2007 for example: banks wrote out loan packages in complicated and sometimes impenetrable language, so customers wouldn’t understand it and regulators wouldn’t have much ground to stand on if they wanted to intervene.

The same can be said of politicians; speechwriter Barton Swaim has even admitted that experts in politics sometimes use meaningless language to hide or buy time before taking action.

But what’s worse is when people actually intend to mislead others with their manipulations.

The Texas Republicans have claimed that “climate change” is just a web of political agenda, instead of advocating for positive environmental awareness; likewise, Republicans have employed misleading language to undermine the Affordable Care Act as far back as 2009 — going so far as claiming it called for “death panels”.

It’s more important now than ever before to use our words wisely, in order to fight for truth rather than feed into deceptive messaging.

Wrap Up

Do I Make Myself Clear? offers up a powerful message- the importance of clear writing cannot be ignored.

From politicians and banks to everyday conversations, language has a large influence on how we think and perceive the world around us.

But it can also be used to manipulate, which is why fighting for clarity is essential in our society.

This book provides actionable advice so readers can improve their writing and ensure that they are communicating effectively.

One important tip is to watch out for pleonasms- words or phrases that are unnecessarily repeated.

Common examples include “anonymous stranger,” “merge together” or “new beginning,” all of which can easily be replaced with single, more direct words.

By following these guidelines, readers will be able to make their writing more cogent and concise- which benefits everyone involved!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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