Here are the Simplicity “rules” we came up with in class last week. Let’s see if we can narrow these down:

  1. “The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”“What am I trying to say? Have I said it?”

    “Clear thinking becomes clear writing”

  2. Don’t include too much fluff, get to the point and don’t take a whole essay to discuss things which have nothing to do with the art work.
    Capture the reader with each sentence/paragraph.
    make sure each sentence flows into the other, each paragraph flows into the other.

  3. 1. Avoid clutter. Do not use unnecessary words, pompous frills, and meaningless jargon
    2. Strip every sentence to its barest components. Do not make sentences long and unexciting to read
    3. Writers should ask themselves What am I trying to say?

  4. 1. “. . . the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components”.
    2. “Simplify, simplify”.
    3. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing”.
  5. Three rules to writing a good essay according to William Zinsser are:
    1. To get rid of clutter
    2. He says the secret to “good writing” is to make each sentence as clear and straight to the point as possible. The use to unnecessary or complex words can sometimes hinder the overall work.
    3. The writer has to constantly keep in mind what they want to convey. They shouldn’t strain away from the topic.
  6. dont use overly smart language
    write in a way that clearly and definitively gets your point across
  7. 1. Get rid of all unnecessary words that have no purpose in your writing. “Strip every sentence to its cleanest components”
    2. Make sure that what you are saying gets to the point and doesn’t lose the reader in the clutter. Be careful what you say and how you word it so it is concise. “If the reader is lost, it’s usually because the writer hasn’t been careful enough”
    3. “Writers must therefore constantly ask: What am I trying to say?” Make sure you constantly stay on point and know what you are trying to say.
  8. I think the concrete advice would be what he says about “clear thinking becomes clear writing”. He thinks that it is important to make every word and every sentence the most simplest. He suggests that we should revise the sentences we wrote several times because he thinks that good writing doesn’t come at the first time.
  9. 1. “The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.” – Every sentence should be concise and to the point.
    2. “Clear thinking becomes clear writing.” – If your mind is cluttered with a bunch of ideas, your writing will be too. You have to brainstorm and organize how you will get your ideas across before you start writing.
    3. The main question you should ask yourself while writing is “What am I trying to say?” Make sure that every sentence you write reflects what you are trying to say.
  10. 1- “But the secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest components.”2- “Clear thinking becomes clear; one can’t exist without the other. It’s impossible for a muddy thinker to write good English.”


  11. 1.“. . . Clear the heads of clutter. Clear thinking becomes clear writing; one can’t exist without the other.”
    2.“The reader is someone with the attention span of about 60 seconds.”
    3.”Strip every sentence to the bare . . .”
  12. The secret of good writing is to strip every sentence to its cleanest component
    Provide links between sentences so the connection is clear
    Keep sentences uncluttered
  13. Zinsser gives concrete examples when he compares the writing of a President of a University and Franklyn D Roosevelt. Also when he talkes about the reader and there competence
  14. 3 rules
    1) Dont add useless details (clutter)
    2) What am i trying to say
    3) Get to the point

In the comments below, post 3 of your “before and after” sentences.

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26 Responses to “Simplicity”

  1.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    1. You may not know what you are looking at but it is still art and all of these pieces of art are what makes the campus one of the most beautiful campuses in New York.
    o All of this artwork on campus makes Queens College one of the most beautiful campuses in New York.
    2. There is something about the campus that appeals to people and I personally feel that it is the aesthetic and artistic values.
    o The aesthetic and artistic value on the campus is what appeals to people.
    3. This article discusses many things about the Queens College mission but I chose it because of the small section about art.
    o This article was useful because of its section on art.

  2.   Brad Bujan Says:

    B: We admire our fellow colleagues as we advance towards our respective classrooms.
    A: We acknowledge colleagues as we go to classrooms.

    B: A plaque erected to the left of the entryway with the date of construction and above these double doors is a magnificent sculpture.
    A: A dated plaque left of the entryway, and above the entrance is a sculpture.

    B:Inspiration which takes your mind to a future where works which have been created by your generation may perhaps line the wall, only to realize that these great institutions of artwork ranging from time sculptures to honorific carving are to be removed due to a budget cut.

    A:Inspiration takes your mind to a future where works created by your generation line the wall, only to realize these artworks are to be removed due to a budget cut.

    To be clear is a rule of Zinsser i tried to follow. By clearing up some sentences and avoiding clutter as he would put it I was able to shorten the length and get my point more clearly across. Though I found, with the second sentence I chose it was more of a visual statement in order to make the reader feel as if he knew what and how the artwork was placed and looked. Zinsser’s advice works for some sentences except for those which are to stimulate the mind and even provide a visual image.

  3.   John Malach Says:

    1. Before – the article is also useful because by knowing what the creator of the sphere’s believes public space is it makes me able to define it better and show off how he used the space he had to make an area into an art piece and how he made an area in front of a building a public gathering place.

    After- The article also showed me what Vito Acconci defined public space as so that I could get a better understanding of it.

    2. Before – The article also gives a few peoples opinion on the art that included real students on campus so that you get an opinion from a peer not just someone who the people of the college cannot connect to.

    After – In the article is gives opinions on the piece that are from students which gives a more familiar perspective to the reader.

    3. Before – He wanted his art to be an area of public space where people could be outside and enjoy being together and with how the school was renovating Klapper Hall at the time it gave perfect incentive to add this new piece of functional art outside of it for student convenience.

    After- He wanted his art to be functional and public for student gatherings and with the renovation at Klapper Hall he could do this.

    I think that the advice that he gives is something that helps a lot because with most essays that are given to students they are just trying to fill up space so they reach the minimum pages that are required so he tells you to just write what is needed and no more. We need to take out the filler in the essays so that the core essentials may shine through and clearly get our point across.

  4.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    *add on

    I found myself using a lot of unnecessary information when I could have the same idea made in a shorter sentence. Used a lot of extra words.

  5.   Mathias Kranacher Says:

    1.BEFORE: “In that yearbook from January 1942, the writer, who is never identified, give us insight as to what a motto really is and why this particular motto represents what the college stands for and what it has come to stand for in present day society”
    AFTER: “In the 1942 Silhouette, a unknown writer tells what the importance of having a motto is and why our motto is important to your community.”

    2.BEFORE: “Stables entry in the British Journal of Education Studies discusses the major need for education institutions to make proper use of slogans and mottos, both for education purpose (i.e. establishing to the public what the school is known for) and social conditions (i.e. diversity and equal opportunities for all who attend).”
    AFTER: “Stables entry in the British Journal of Educational Studies discusses the need for educational institutions to make proper usage of their slogans, both for educational and social purposes.”

    3.BEFORE: “This article is important in proving the validity of mottos because it shows just how influential and effective mottos can be on educational institutions like Queens College when he says that slogans “encompass the hopes of diverse groups”(159).”
    AFTER: “Stables article is important in proving the validity of mottos because it justifies how important mottos are on education institutions when he says that mottos “encompass the hopes of diverse groups” (159).”

    I found myself using Zensser’s rule of attention. He said that “the reader is someone with the attention span of about 60 seconds” and that made me want to cut out unneeded details so I had enough time to capture the reader attention. I also got rid of big words to make the sentences more manageable to the reader; “Don’t use overly smart language.”

  6.   Jenny Lu Says:

    Before: In other words, the way a piece of art work is displayed in essence has the ability to alter the entire meaning of a work of art.
    After: In other words, the way an art piece is displayed has the ability to alter the entire meaning of a work of art.

    Before: Fenner argues that the “classification [of art] itself is merely a linguistic move. Seen in this light, the art world’s function is not an exercise of power but a function of linguistics and socially necessary pattern identification. If this is the case, then the art world is not a value-conferring body. As a result, neither the position that the object had an unrecognized intrinsic value nor the position that it had an unactualized inherent value is tenable” (47).
    After: Fenner argues that the “classification [of art] itself is merely a linguistic move… the art world’s function is not an exercise of power but a function of linguistics and socially necessary pattern identification… As a result, neither the position that the object had an unrecognized intrinsic value nor the position that it had an unactualized inherent value is tenable” (47).

    Things I found myself doing when I revised my sentences was taking out useless words or lines that wasn’t necessary in my writing. By taking out these words or phrases it made my sentences clear and to the point. Sometimes I find myself adding useless lines and phrases that weren’t necessarily in helping my writing sound better.

  7.   Carlene Faith Says:

    Before and After Sentences: creating more simplistic sentences
    1. Before: I hope to fully represent my argument that this piece of artwork is a huge symbol of great importance on the campus and this article gives a lot of evidence that my argument is true.
    After: This article gives an immense amount of evidence that would support my argument that this piece of artwork is a huge symbol of great importance on campus.
    2. Before: This article would be useful in my final paper, because when studying a piece of artwork as abstract as this one it is very important to understand not only the piece but the artist, who in this case is quite complex as Everett explains in this article.
    After: This article would be useful in my final paper because it contains a lot of insight into the complex mind of the artist. It is crucial when studying a piece of art to understand the artist as well as the abstract itself.
    3. Before: Everett’s article summarizes Donna Dennis’ art display “Tourist Cabins”, the sheer impact it had on the art scene, Dennis’s early artwork and her career as a whole for she was, as Everett said, an artist who “pushed sculpture toward the domain of architecture” (45).
    After: Everett’s article gives a closer look at Donna Dennis’s earlier work and her career as a whole as she created the art display “Tourist Cabins”, and “pushed sculpture toward the domain of architecture” (45).

    Reflection Sentences: I found that when I write I am not concise and often don’t get to the point because I am too wrapped up in clutter. I think that Zenser has really good points about simplicity and cutting out clutter. I think I need to stay more focused to “what I am trying to say”.

  8.   Sinyee Cindy Leung Says:

    1. If a film is talking about people will turn into a statue if they see Medusa’s eyes, I am sure that that film is not talking about reality.
    If a film is talking about myth, I am sure that it is not talking about reality.
    2. Outdoor Sculpture is about what importance outdoor sculpture can bring, different kinds of outdoor sculpture, the standards of evaluating outdoor sculpture, what outdoor sculpture achieves, what people’s responses towards outdoor sculpture and what the future of outdoor is.
    Outdoor Sculpture is about what the functions of outdoor sculpture are and the effects they give to our environment.
    I deleted some of the useless details and simplified the words I have used in my sentences. After I followed Zinsser’s rules, it is easy to follow my sentences and everything is more clearer.

  9.   Zarraf Choudhury Says:

    a)More and more people are caring less about the photograph as a form of art.
    b)More and more people care less about photography as a form of art

    a)A message in an artwork, no matter how small, must remain and be intact.
    b)The message in an artwork, no matter how small, should not be changed.

    One of the biggest points Zinsser makes is to leave out unnecessary details that add nothing significant to the sentence. That’s what I did with the two sentences above- I removed the “clutter” and made the sentences more easily accessible.

  10.   maya1 Says:

    In Gortais’s article, he delves into the specifics of abstract art and its history.
    Gortais’s article delves into the specifics of abstract art and its history.
    For a piece of art to have enough staying ability and cause enough reaction amongst different people to come together, it shows the true intention and power of community art.
    The real power and true intention of a piece of art is shown through its staying ability and how it causes people to come together.
    I found myself looking for a lot of unnecessary words because I know I tend to do that a lot in my writing and like in simplicity, it always ends up having no purpose and I tend to go off track when I do it.
    I also looked for cluttered sentences because I tend to write some long sentences that stray away from my point.
    I looked to shorten sentences wherever I saw commas because I tend to use a lot of commas which always makes my sentences longer.

  11.   Beatrice Pana Says:

    Before: It is dedicated to three victims who passed away during the Mississippi Freedom Summer, one of whom was a Queens College student.
    After: It is dedicated to three victims who passed away during the Mississippi Freedom Summer, one of which was a Queens College student.

    Before: As stated in the dedication plaque:….
    After: As stated in the dedication plaque, which is located on the left hand side of the entryway into the Benjamin Rosenthal Library.

    On the second sentence, I believe I did not use an extensive vocabulary, but rather made my point easily understood.

  12.   regiesh Says:

    “if the film was shot in montage it could also be less relatable because it is much further from reality though it is irrational to see it as reality at all because it is from a screen and fictional.”

    Change to: “Like radio, it is also harder to relate to montage in comparison with mise-en-scene. Montage is still further from reality and therefore less relatable.”

    “Vertov’s…, if you remember embodied the very idea that when something anything is filmed, it is not only the reproduction of something happening in reality but contains it’s own aura and “truth” that doesn’t exist beyond the screen”

    Change to: “Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera embodies the idea that when anything is filmed it is not only the reproduction of something happening in reality but has it’s own “truth” that could only exist on screen.”

    “To use montage would already be manipulating what has been filmed while mise-en-scene has the ability to flow like reality, therefore mimicking reality, creating deeper meaning and giving the viewer an uncanncy feeling that what is portrayed is in fact reality itself.”

    Change to:
    “Mise-en-scene already flows like reality while montage is manipulation. The illusion of reality creates deeper meaning in the viewer.”

  13.   regiesh Says:

    Reflection: Many of my sentences are complex throughout my interview for the sheer fact I’m imitating Bazin. This made editing hard because I still wanted to keep his character. I simplified each of the sentences and tried to get more to the point. I think I lost some of the thought process in the editing. I took out unneeded fluff words like “aura” as well.

  14.   Russell Weinberg Says:

    1) In the case of these tubes, you are not only taking away this individuals accomplishments, but your saying that what they learned in this school, the tube sculpture they built, for this school, is irrelivant in the grand scheme of things.
    1) Concerning this sculpture, “The Tubes”, getting rid of it is like taking an individuals accomplishments and saying they weren’t good enough.
    2)Art is a hard media to work with (and to even get involved in), due to the fact that everyone has a different taste and perspective on the subject.
    2) Art is a hard subject to get involved in because people share different tastes and opinions.

    1) I think i have alot of trouble making my point clear. When I am writing, alot of stuff winds up sounding alot better in my head, or an idea can be spawned in my head, better than i can put it down on paper. Because of this, sometimes my writing winds up sounding awkward, or funny, yet sometimes I feel like i cant get my point across without alot of talking. So I need to find a balance there.

  15.   Kevin L. Ferguson Says:


  16.   Brad Bujan Says:

    The problem I faced while writing this piece of work was I was not entirely sure how I should write it. I missed key class time during which the structure was discussed. Thanks to the creative criticism I’ve seen what I should and shouldn’t do. Also including more info about one topic than another key topic was a major downfall to this piece of writing. With the peer revision given I can rewrite this in order to suit the essentials which are required and make reading this more informative and use an element of stitching to relate all the works together.

  17.   John Malach Says:

    I feel as if through this peer revision workshop that I have found one problem of mine that I thought was there but as been shown to me and that is the fact that I repeat myself quite a bit to fill up space to meet that specific page requirement that the professor gives. With the letter to the president I did not know many details associated with the Sphere art piece so I kept repeating over and over again how they are used by people to be around and hang out outside. The revision process also let me know that i do get the point across though with use of key terms that are important like in my letter I use functional as a term to let the reader know that not only is the piece something to look at but it is interactive and used daily for studying and what have you. I also noticed with both pieces that have been revised that I do get my thesis across clearly because it has never been questioned and can always be pointed out right away hopefully with not to much effort since it is supposed to be clear.

  18.   Kevin Prunty Says:

    I felt like the sheet given to us to use in the peer review exercise was hard to adapt to the writing we were working on. I felt like a lot of the things on the sheet could not be found in the Annotated Bibliographies. I do think that peer editing is a great thing to do and I think it is helpful. Sometimes I feel like a professor just makes comments on my paper because they have to and I don’t feel like it is a big problem. When another students writes something on paper I feel like that needs to be to fixed because it is something that is obviously not as good as I wanted it to be in my paper.

  19.   Carlene Faith Says:

    I think peer review is a great process is a great way for us to understand what we are doing wrong. Although, we have had these editing by Professor Ferguson, it is good to have something edited by more than one person so we get many opinions. I like editing others work and writing comments about it because often I will read something and go I make that same mistake all the time. It makes me realize my own mistakes as well. I like getting my paper back with my strengths and weaknesses because it gives me an idea of what to stay focused on when it comes to editing. I think that now I know what to do when editing my own work as well. I think that the peer review exercise worksheet is also really helpful because it gives me criteria on how to edit my work as well and what to focus on. Today, I think that I got better advice than the first time perhaps. I think that I realized that I made the same mistake as the person I read and that I need to work on self editing. I also think that the Zenser simplicity stuff plays a big key in all of this because I didn’t know much about simplicity when I wrote this. There is a lot of clutter and now after really getting used to that idea I am more prepared to fully edit all of this. I think that this exercise and today’s class as a whole was very helpful because our portfolio deadline is coming up and we are getting great experience editing that will help us with that assignment.

  20.   Mathias Kranacher Says:

    The one thing that whoever commented on mine did (I don’t know who did it) that I liked was that they actually wrote commentary on it, like “I like this sentence, this may challenge the reader etc etc” and I found that very helpful. And yes, I know I can’t spell. Even with spell check, I still get stuff wrong. Spelling and grammar will be the death of me. So thank you for correcting my grammar. I find it easier to redo your work when you know you have something that other people like and that you’re not just correcting it for the sake of correcting.

  21.   maya1 Says:

    During the peer review I tried to separate the writing into the three sections first because it always feels easier to handle when you have smaller sections to deal with. I looked for the main sentences to underline in each after that because that’s the real point of each section. I also made sure to check for flow because whenever I read essays or books, I always need nice transitions and good flow or else I’m not hooked. Even if they are talking about something interesting, if it doesn’t flow right for me, it just doesn’t work. I also thought that looking for weaknesses in the writing was important because then the writer will be more aware of what to improve on and they are conscious to the fact that its good to have things to improve or change in their work.

  22.   Russell Weinberg Says:

    After reviewing someone else’s paper and looking at my own coments, i think that peer revision is helpful. Now this is not only because it is people who kno u moderately well, but it is also because you can get a different opinion on things. If you only have one person reviewing your ork, thats all fine and dandy, but the more opinions the better.(In my opinion).
    The peers working together gives you a chance to look at other peoples writing styles, and to help them improve their works. Maybe there was something that someone didn’t catch durring their first draft, or maybe just having someone else look at it will make you realize yourself, ”hey shit, this sounded bad good thing someone picked up on it”, plus when people are all working on a closely related topic, in this case sculpture, everyone can pick eachothers brain. You could be looking at one persons work, and see something, and it clicks in your head how to make your own paper better.
    I think that peer revisions are important.

  23.   Beatrice Pana Says:

    Peer-reviewing someone else’s paper actually made me realize some mistakes in my own paper, and gave me some good ideas on how I can fix them. I think the most important thing to remember when I rewrite my Persuasive Epistolary essay is to eliminate the use of ( I don’t exactly remember what these are called, but when you use doesn’t instead of does not, or isn’t instead of is not), seeing as how the letter is formal, and having those in my writing takes away from the formality of it. Also, this peer-review session made me realize that I need to cut out a whole paragraph from my essay because it made sense in my head and when I wrote it, but now that I reread it, it doesn’t really make that much sense and is not that credible. In the essay I reviewed, I found it harder to identify their use of stitching rather than jus identifying the main points of paragraphs and grammar errors.

  24.   Zarraf Choudhury Says:

    The peer review really helped me understand specific things I didn’t see before. One of those things was how I used Harvey’s Elements. When I first wrote the persuasive letter, I didn’t really think about the use of his Elements. Going through the letter after many of these Elements were identified by a classmate made me realize how important they are to the comprehension of an essay. Another thing was where I originally thought my thesis was when I first wrote the letter. It turned out my main thesis began in the third paragraph. This makes it easier to identify where and what I should change.

  25.   Jenny Lu Says:

    In these last few sessions of English class we have been revising our peers writing. I enjoy this assignment because not only does it show me what other people think of my writing however, it allows me to reflect and see what I have to work on. Revising other peoples writing I personally feel has made me as a writer stronger. Because not only am I able to see and correct other peoples mistakes and evaluate their work however I can use that and apply it to my own writing. I also like this assignment because we get constructive criticism and its different from a teacher reading and making their comments compared to a peer.

  26.   Sinyee Cindy Leung Says:

    Destroying any of these art pieces is no different than ignoring the evidence of artists’ creativity, the existence of Queens College and so as replacing it by a vending machine or a moped parking lot.
    Replacing and destroying any of these art pieces for any reasons are no different than than ignoring the evidence of artists’ creativity and the existence of Queens College.
    I rearranged the sentences’ order, so that people will see the most important part or the main point of the sentence , which I put it in the back, reader would use less time to process the meaning of it.

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