On Writing Well - Part IV: Chapter 20 The Sound of Your Voice Summary & Analysis

William Zinsser
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Part IV: Chapter 20 The Sound of Your Voice Summary

Every writer has a unique voice, but that voice needs to be discovered. Imitating others who write well and have attractive voices is where the writer needs to start. All artists of any sort start out this way too. Everybody uses models and develop their own modes of expression over time.

Zinsser sees the difference between using cliches, usually a big mistake, and adding something from the vernacular, where the addition strengthens the writing. The use of proper grammar should always be maintained. The rules exist for a reason—because readers expect good writing to follow the rules. To do otherwise distracts and shows a contempt for the language.

The writer should maintain a consistent voice throughout, regardless of subject matter. Zinsser does not use sports English when writing about sports, or...

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