Last Updated 12 Mar 2023

How to Say Nothing in 500 Words

Words 310 (2 pages)
Views 1172

In Paul Roberts's essay “How to Say Nothing in 500 Words”, the author gives us nine tips that we can use to be a more productive writer:

  • “Avoid the obvious” in which we should make a list of the things that immediately come to mind and not use them in your writing
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  • “Take the less usual side” which most people will avoid. He also mentions that trying to predict what the teacher wants is not a good way to choose a topic
  •  “Slip out of abstraction” by not using vague topics but to go into detail instead
  • “Get rid of the obvious padding” by beginning with more real content so you don’t have to add fluff.
  • "Call a fool a fool” meaning that you should get to the point and not be apologetic
  • “Beware of pat expressions” which are common phrases that everybody uses. Next is to use “Colorful words” to paint a picture or cause emotion
  • “Colored words” usage which has associations either good or bad that are common to us from past experiences
  • Finally, he warns against using too many “Colorless words” which have been utilized so much that the meanings have been diminished.

I agree with what Paul has written because I have made each one of these mistakes, especially trying to find as many words as possible to fill up a page. I found that he used examples in a way that made his points clear and easy to understand. The text is a little dated but well written with the exception of some spelling and grammar mistakes. In one sentence that stood out to me, he used every one of the “colorless words” that he had listed, which was barely understandable. I plan on using the ideas from this essay in my future writing in hopes that I will not get a grade of “D. ”

Writing Quality

Grammar mistakes

D (66%)


A (98%)

Redundant words

B (82%)




C (71%)

Total mark


How to Say Nothing in 500 Words essay

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