Avoid phrases such as “It is clear that.”

Posted: October 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Plain English: Tips | No Comments »

Avoid throat-clearing sayings that begin with it is, such as it is clear that, it is likely that, it is mere speculation to suggest that or it is axiomatic that. Phrases such as there is a possibility that also don’t belong in your writing.

These phrases are pure clutter–word hiccups that slow the pace of your writing and add little value. If it goes without saying that the sun is shining, why are you saying it? If it is clear that is a cloudy day, why must you point it out? And many it is sentences are clichés, such as It is with a heavy heart (or great glee) that I announce . . .

If deleting the throat-clearing phrase would sacrifice some meaning, rephrase those sayings with an adverb. For example, rewrite It appears that Mr. Jones never received notice as Mr. Jones apparently never received notice. Similarly, there are many possibilities should be pared down to possibly. Only a few it is phrases are worth keeping, including the ubiquitous it is well established that or it is black letter law that. These two phrases add value, so the word hiccup will be forgiven.

After all, it is imperative that our writing must be clean and crisp.

What do you think?