Cut Extra Words to Add Strength to Your Business Writing
Extra words that don’t support your meaning dilute business writing strength. Aim for concise. Zero in on individual sentences for ways to tighten. Here’s a case in point:
With the use of this new and unique idea, it will increase the profits for the magazine in one particular month, July.
Extra words hurt the sentence’s readability and generate bad grammar. Even though the sentence is fairly short, it manages to jam in two prepositions (of and for), an altogether useless phrase (with the use of), and an unnecessary word repetition — new and unique. Of course, the sentence construction is confusing as a result. A better version:
This new idea will increase the magazine’s profits, particularly in July.
An objective look at your sentences may reveal words and phrases that obviously repeat the same idea. Here’s a sentence which talks about editing hard copy from a computer print-out:
Of course, you must then transfer your changes to the original on your computer.
In context, the original document was clearly on the computer, so the unnecessary phrase was cut:
Of course, you must then transfer the changes to your computer.
Consider this explanation of Track Changes:
Now when you make a change, the alteration is indicated in a color and any deletion is shown on the right.
Your changes then show up in color, and deletions appear outside the text on the far right.
The revision works better because it eliminates unnecessary words and with them, the passive construction of alteration is indicated and deletion is shown.
Take aim at common phrases that slow down reading. Substitute simple words. Often you can substitute single words for formal, space-wasting phrases. The words on the left are almost always non-contributors; choose those on the right. Try making a list of the phrases you often use and consciously minimize them. Your writing will move a big step forward.
|at this time||now|
|for the purpose of||for, to|
|the reason for that||because|
|in accordance with||under|
|is able to||can|
|it is necessary that||must, should|
|in an effort to||to|
|in order to||to|
|in regard to||about|
|in the amount of||for|
|in the event of||if|
|in anticipation of||before|
|in the near future||soon|
|on the occasion of||when|
|is indicative of||indicates|
|is representative of||represents|
|regardless of the fact that||although|
|on a daily basis||daily|