The reason for writing well rather than badly is, of course, to make your reader’s job easier. Anything that makes your point easier to understand is good; anything that makes it less easy is bad. Understandability—the ease with which your point can be understood—is the only criterion for determining what is good writing. Reading is, after all, hard enough even when the writing is good; bad writing simply creates unnecessary obstacles that make understanding even harder.

The five most common impediments to understandability are these:

Failure to be neatFailure to write grammaticallyFailure to write appropriately and effectivelyFailure to organizeFailure to make the organizational plan clear

Avoid all five of these and you’ll ...

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