A tenet of readability and good writing is to “whack wordiness” wherever possible. One way involves replacing long noun phrases with short verbs. Consider these examples:
- They remain in contradiction with themselves vs. They contradict themselves.
- He made an acknowledgment of her success vs. He acknowledged her success.
- We get closer to the implementation of actual leadership practice vs. We get closer to implementing actual leadership practice.
As you can see, you can whack wordiness by turning a long-winded “heavy” phrase into an active “lively” verb.
What clues do you look for? Start with flagging nouns ending in “ion” and “ment.”
When editing manuscripts, I make changes such as these dozens of times a day. What a difference this one technique makes! Try it for yourself.
Your challenge: Use this technique and send me examples.
Upcoming WordShops — More Ways to Boost Readability
Note: You’ll learn dozens of editor’s techniques by attending a business writing WordShop this May or June. You’ll come away with:
- Ability to write persuasively with fewer words (“whack wordiness”)
- Increased productivity and clarity in your writing
- Improved correspondence with clients and friends.
Friday, May 6, 2016, at Tucson College in Tucson, AZ. Full details here.
Thursday, June 16, 2016, at DeVry University in Westminster, CO (hosted by Avante Leadership Group) Sign up here.
Share other ways you like to whack wordiness here.