How to Write Simply

Jun 21, 2023 | Better Writing

There are plenty of good reasons to write simply. But how do you do it?

A little planning is a powerful thing

Start with a little planning. Start by making note of who you’re writing to. What do you know about him or her? What do you want your reader to think, feel, or do when they finish reading your piece? You might try that thesis sentence your English teacher was so fond of.

As you write

Try to write simply. Use simple words, words your reader will understand without having to look them up. Use simple sentences. Write like you’re talking to a friend in an informal situation.

After you write

When you’re done writing that first draft, set it aside for a little bit. Then read your writing aloud. Your tongue will trip over things your eyes thought were just fine. Reading aloud is a good way to identify places where your writing is more complex or fancy and it needs to be.

Rewrite and revise

One draft is not enough. Look for ways to simplify. See if you can eliminate adjectives and adverbs. See if you can rewrite sentences to make them simpler and easier to understand.

Use helpful software

When you’re finished revising, it’s time to call in the grammar checkers. Most major ones, including the one that’s embedded in Microsoft Word, will give you a reading score or grade level. The idea is to make the reading score go up and the grade level go down.

The Hemingway Editor program can be especially helpful. The software highlights sentences that are hard to read and very hard to read. That lets you zero in on places in your manuscript that require attention.


Simple writing has lots of benefits.

Planning increases your odds of a well-written piece.

Use simple words and simple sentences.

When you revise, look for adjectives, adverbs, and complex sentences.

Rewrite and revise until your piece is easy to read.

Get help from software, especially Hemingway Editor.

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