Did you ever read a passage and then feel woozy afterwards? The problem is toxic prose. Three common writing problems, taken together, make it hard to figure out what people are trying to say.
- Passive voice. When you can’t tell who’s responsible for the actions in a sentence, it confuses you.
- Jargon. When a passage uses arcane technical language, it’s tough to puzzle out.
- Weasel words. Vague qualifiers turn meaning into mush, or meaningless cheerleading.
Bad habits means that these elements get into text. The first step in changing those habits is to become aware of what you’re doing. To help you out with that, here’s an infographic that explains toxic prose and what to do about it. Keep it handy, or just share it with the worst offenders in your office.