Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 45.

shamrock

Have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve their craft. Here are some tricks to trim your writing. Readers will appreciate the absence of these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Eradicate completely:

When something is eradicated, it is completely removed, so we don’t need ‘completely’. e.g. We must eradicate completely all references to St. Patrick’s Day now it’s over. Try: We must eradicate all references to St. Patrick’s Day now it’s over.

Personal opinion:

It’s your opinion, so it’s bound to be personal. e.g. It’s just my personal opinion that all the Irish will be drunk this St Patrick’s Day. Try: It’s my opinion that all the Irish will be drunk this St Patrick’s Day.

Meet together:

I’m pretty certain you can’t meet apart, so let’s ditch the unnecessary ‘together’, shall we? e.g. The Irish people meet together to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Try: The Irish people meet to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Or: The Irish people get together to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

If you just read these posts and nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. You’ll need to 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 know real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue can read more naturally by occasionally including these.

These suggestions should make us think about what we write and examine our words to help us improve our writing. Rules about writing do form useful guides but they aren’t set in stone. Always bear in mind George Orwell’s wise words; ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’

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