Fundamentals vs Platitudes in Writing

When creating your articles, it’s always ok to include the basics or fundamentals about how to do something but it’s not ok to expound generic platitudes to meet your minimum word count.

Platitude Defined: A trite / obvious remark or “A flat, dull, or trite remark, especially one uttered as if it were fresh and profound.” (

The difference between a generic platitude in an article vs. educating the reader on the fundamentals is that the reader will see right through a thinly veiled platitude and reject your article as not being credible. Articles that discuss fundamentals often tell the reader WHY the various basics of the topic being discussed is important or what it will mean to the reader whereas a platitude is like a useless statement.

Some of our editors shared that an article that expounds platitudes are like statements that could be made by anyone without any expertise vs. a true expert who is defining the action behind the fundamentals about how to solve a problem or achieve an outcome in something.

Bottom line: Don’t be a platituder! :-) Instead, give the basic fundamentals and brief reasons why the fundamentals are important.


Jennifer Thieme writes:

I don’t mean to be dull, but I still don’t get what you are talking about. Can you please provide examples? Thanks!

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 3:32 PM



What I’m really saying is that generic articles are boring and articles that list the fundamentals about the topic being presented is better.

Example of a boring platitude article on the topic of “Weight Loss”:

To lose weight, you should eat less. Then go to gym. When you’re at the gym, it’s good to stretch out. Get plenty of rest and sleep. When you sleep, close your eyes. When you wake up, drink lots of water. Go back to the gym again the next day.


You might laugh, but we get article submissions like this all the time.

Example of an article based on fundamentals around the topic of “Weight Loss”:

To lose weight, you must end each day in a caloric deficit. This means expending more energy than you consumed or eating fewer calories than you burn off in exercise. Diets don’t work because they are usually not progression based… opting instead for the short-term fix. Instead, think about finding ways to end each day having burned more calories than you consumed. You’ll find that you’re no longer focused on weight loss and instead, you’ve created a fitness lifestyle for your body.

See the difference in a “platitudinal” article vs. one that discussed the “fundamentals” of the topic being presented?

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 4:00 PM



Hi Chris!

I’m still laughing with your example of a platitudinal article! It was nice, because I was irritated with the delay with my ebook!
I saw once one of these articles you mentioned in my category, while I was reading what my colleagues write there.
The author repeated the same paragraph with many variations, but even his variations were quite similar.
My advice to the authors that don’t know what to write or how to write their articles: read many things related to your topic. I mean a lot, not only one or two pages about the matter you’ll choose. Read and learn. Then you can write very good articles giving fundamental information instead of writing silly articles that won’t have any success.
You only need to be good students!

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 4:38 PM



It’s fascinating to compare these two – first example and the second example are nearly the same, except for the authority in your voice and the terminology you used. “Sounds much better,” I’d say.

I would then take it a step further, after touching upon the fundamentals, and go into the HOW and/or the WHY.

I would say, GO DEEPER.

HOW will I begin to figure out if I’m expending more calories than I’m consuming?

“Well, you can find a calorie counter at this site” (and you give them the link).

“AND you can figure out how much exercise you’ll need in a day by multiplying the…” whatever by the whatever (sorry Chris, need your fitness knowledge here to fill in the missing info).

THAT, to me, would be the final missing ingredient that takes an article out of the realm of platitude and gives it real attitude.

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 5:14 PM


Jennifer Thieme writes:

“When you sleep, close your eyes.”

What a great tip! No wonder I haven’t been sleeping well! ;-)

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 7:14 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Well this is just horrible for me, because I want Paris Hilton to read my article and if I make them too “Deep” then I will miss the 60% of Americans who just don’t go there. Ha Ha Ha

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 7:43 PM



Fortunately this is a very funny post and the gym is certainly a very good place to have plenty of rest and sleep!

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 8:02 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Without attempting to sound like a presumptuous platituder or engaging in platitudinal persnickety pandering – I would like to say that with regards to potential platitudinally written articles, that some folks talk persuasively in platitudes too and thus we see it in their writing, which is full of platitudes and platitudinous paragraphing percentages making their articles a plethora of run-on platitudes, as they often ignore the need for proper and positive paragraphs rather than providing parental nurturing for the patron. Please prevent platituders from pervasive pasture paddy or proverb plighted prose.

Comment provided June 26, 2007 at 8:59 PM



I didn’t understand what you said Lance, because my English is not so good. But, if you have a problem, you better solve it. If you are tired, go to bed. If you are sick, go to the doctor. If you need vacations, go to the travel agency. If you need new clothes, go to my store and buy them from me. You’ll have a discount if you’ll mention my wise tips.

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 4:11 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

No one can understand what I just said because it is lacking the Fundamentals that Chris is talking about. It is just a bunch of jibberish, proving that fundamentals are more important than a bunch of tricky nothing-ness that says ziltch.

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM



Yes, I know. This is the way I used to write my exams when I didn’t study anything and the examination was written!
The teacher couldn’t say I didn’t know anything, because I used to write a lot, sometimes a whole page just in order to give my answer to a question. This is not a trick anyone can use though! It requires many talents, besides writing well.

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 1:58 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

In the US they have a saying:

“If you cannot dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS”

I suppose that those who do know a little something or a lot of somethings can really wing it or fling it well using such a method. Politicians are often masterful at speaking a lot and relating to a subject without ever giving a difinitive answer to the question. By the time their monologue is done, everyone forgot the question but sits their and nods in agreement with what they think the politician just said.

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 2:04 PM



This is rhetoric, a very old method!

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 2:17 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

Do you believe that many people who write platitudes in articles also blend them with rhetoric. I see so much of this going on these days? Must be election time approaching.

Comment provided June 27, 2007 at 8:05 PM



Rhetoric exists everywhere, not only in politics. Everyone that says something in public can use rhetoric to convince the others to believe in anything they wish.
If we know however how to distinguish the fundamental in any speech, we can understand that rhetoric people only mix their words in a brilliant way. Sometimes so brilliant that they give us the impression that they really know something and they are really saying something important!
Their words are completely empty though and their statements don’t have a solid base. They talk about possibilities, theories, suppositions! only ideas. But they present them as if they were facts, proofs! a very concrete base for any judgement. Many people do that, even scientists.

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 11:59 AM


Lance Winslow writes:

I often worry about the academic or scientists that demands facts, statistics and debates personal observation as merely platitudes;

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 4:21 PM



I agree with you, but personal observation is like personal interpretation of the reality we see, what cannot be considered an objective proof of anything.

Sometimes it is though, but science in our planet has a slow evolution in some aspects, that’s why our scientists don’t accept many very evident proofs if they are not like they want them to be. This is something absurd if we’ll consider reality’s complexity, but they need to follow several rules in order to have guidance in this chaotic matter.

Many scientists believe we should consider other people’s observations as scientific proof of real facts if it is obvious that they don’t have any reason on trying to distort their presentation.


‚¬“Platudinal‚¬ articles with a rhetoric character are very far from seriousness, what is totally opposite to their purpose, especially if they deal with scientific matters, in health categories.

Authors that have a tendency to write that kind of article shall change their style and write about fundamental points. If they don’t know what to write about, they should learn like good students.

If they cannot learn, they can simply copy some paragraphs from several sources giving objective information and then write their personal conclusion in the end.

Comment provided June 28, 2007 at 6:08 PM


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