Don’t use five words if three will do. Glue words, such as of, by, and or, usually mean that you can pare your sentence down. For example, The orders of the shipping department were produced by Widget Company should be rewritten as Widget Company produced its shipping department’s orders. (By and of are glue words that should come out.) The crux of the argument turns on should become The argument turns on. By virtue of his ownership of the land should be pared down to Because he owned the land. Don’t state by way of explanation. Just explain. Whether or not should be unknotted down to plain old whether. This point in time means now. An ongoing problem is just a plain old problem. A workable solution is simply a solution and a fellow colleague is just a colleague.
mariebuckley | Filed under: Mission Critical Stuff, Plain English: Tips | No Comments »