Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 35.

World

We writers generally enjoy sharing ideas to improve our craft. Here are some ways to trim our writing. Readers will appreciate us removing these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Crisis situation:

Since a crisis is a ‘situation’, we can do without the word here. e.g. Inaction by many governments renders climate change a crisis situation for the world. Try: Inaction by many governments renders climate change a crisis for the world.

Revert back:

You can’t revert forward, or in any other direction, so let’s do away with the redundancy shall we? e.g. We need to revert back to the time when man had respect for nature, if we’re to have a future for our world. Try: We need to revert to the time when man had respect for nature, if we’re to have a future for our world.

First and foremost:

Not only a sloppy phrase, but one that employs tautology. e.g. First and foremost, we must tackle climate change, if we’re to save the world for our children. Try: First, we must tackle climate change, if we’re to save the world for our children. Or: Tackling climate change is foremost, if we’re to save the world for our children.

Reading these posts and nodding sagely won’t improve your writing. Stay alert to extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll slide in unnoticed. Include this check as part of your editing process, and you’ll catch most offenders. Fiction writers should remember that real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue can be made more natural by occasionally including these.

The suggestions here are intended to make us think about what we write, examine our words, and help us improve our writing. Rules about writing form useful guides but shouldn’t be considered as set in stone. Always bear in mind George Orwell’s wise words on grammar; ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’

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