I've opened a question in another section: https://softwareengineering.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/6911/is-this-question-possible-in-this-section

The question is pretty unclear but for me is really hard to improve the way I'm writing and often it's hard even to understand what exactly I should change in my style. I can realize that it's not charming but it's like in a chess play where I don't know what exactly to check.

I cite a small part of the question itself:

I think Visual Studio is one of the best editors for writing code in .net. But I also think it's not completely mature. I always get lost trying to follow the code from one class to the other. And I think productivity in software development is really low compared to others sectors like the building of an auto (think to the concept of a pipeline).

Modifying a single functionality in code may require to go ahead and back between 5 or 10 files. Which makes people become dumb :-p

The bolded sentence is something I strongly believe but it's not needed here. It explains the motivation which pushed me to open the question, but I suspect that sentence made me verbose.

I'm also repeating a lot the word think. I use it because people may prefer an opinion expressed in that way. But still I think it is bad for the "look" of my text.

How could I improve my way of writing? I don't have a problem with grammar, are there books which are focusing specifically on my problem?

ps: I read already. I write in communities, cinema reviews but I really dislike my style. I've read also this Q&A: Ways to improve your writing skills

  • 1
    Welcome to Writers. I'm a little unclear on what kind of writing you want to improve. The piece of the question you quote leads one to believe you're talking about coding. (I imagine not, since you mention grammar, but If so, this isn't the place to ask). Documentation and other tech writing (as per your tag)? The cinema reviews you mention? Oct 2 '14 at 0:17
  • @NeilFein: Hi Neil, actually the discussion was in the meta section and I wanted to use a persuasive speaking. I have a good knowledge of basic psychology, economy and coding but I cannot express myself in an effective way. I've wrote also cinema reviews and my style is also not good. But now I'm particularly interested in persuasive writing. The kind of text I'm interested in writing are mail works, discussion like the one we are having now, books like the one from Dale Carnegie or Wayne Dyer or Barbara Beckam. Have you got any suggestion?
    – Revious
    Oct 2 '14 at 12:38

Steven Pinker recently published a book called The Sense of Style. It's intended to help competent writers of nonfiction become good writers, and addresses these types of questions.

You should also try the classic The Elements of Style by Strunk & White, which is smaller and simpler, but about a century out of date. Nonetheless, most people will tell you it's required reading for all writers of prose.


First, I do not think, that Visual Studio is a good editor (or even IDE). In my opinion only people who have never worked with something different than Visual Studio can come to the conclusion that it is any good. As far as I see it you will change your mind as soon as you have put your hands on IntelliJ IDEA. (Well, there is a plug-in for VS, but I have already digressed enough.)

Yes, there are terrible styles out there in the Internet and I understand your wish to improve yourself (even though your style is already ahead of many others). But the most overlooked part is not style, it is the meaning. Care about meaningful stuff first. Write a lot and you will develop your own voice/style. There are enough people who are rhetorically brilliant, but have nothing to say.

If you have a problem with repetition (thinkthinkthink), then skip the repetition. You can use other expressions like I did above, but in most cases/discussions people are aware that you are telling your opinion. You do not have to repeat that all the time. If you want to make it clear nonetheless, you can do that one time at the beginning ("All of the following is my personal opinion, YMMW:").

If you think your sentences are too long/verbose, split them. Setting another period isn't that hard. And after splitting you can often easily see, what you need to keep and what you can throw away. Like unnecessary thinkers.

Well, that's at least what I think :)

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    By the way, there is a question about excessive use of "think": "think, I think, I don't think". The currently highest scored answer is not great about explaining when "think" can be simply dropped and does not even mention softening the claim rather than softening the assertiveness of the claim (e.g., "I think it is one of the best" vs. "it is a very good", though this assumes it is not just less bad than most alternatives; even "one of the best" is a softer claim than "best" or even "probably the best"). Oct 2 '14 at 20:56

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