Technical Writing ToolBox

A Blog on Technical Writing

Make your Sentences Slim (by removing 35 Wordy Phrases)

Photo Credit: OnBloggingWell.com

One of the easiest way to achieve conciseness in your writing is by removing wordy phrases. Wordy Phrases are long sentences that can be replaced by a single word (or few words) without changing the meaning of a sentence.

A

a number of = some

a majority of = most

A majority of technical  writers enjoy writing.

Most technical writers enjoy writing.

B

beyond a shadow of a doubt = <> (Can be deleted)

Technical writers enjoy writing beyond a shadow of a doubt

Technical writers enjoy writing.

based on the fact that = since/because

Based on the fact that technical writers enjoy writing, they might like reading as well.

Because technical writers enjoy writing, they might like reading as well.

C

conduct an investigation into = investigate

We will conduct an investigation into the poor quality of user guides.

We will investigate the poor quality of user guides.

D

due to the fact that = because

derived great pleasure from = enjoyed/appreciated 

I derived great pleasure from reading your book.

I enjoyed reading your book.

E

extend an invitation = invite

economically deprived = poor

Gambling made him economically deprived.

Gambling made him poor.

F

from the point of view of = from/for

for the purpose of = to/for

We went to Niagara falls for the purpose of entertainment.

We went to Niagara falls for entertainment.

G

give consideration to = consider

Give consideration to wiki as a help authoring tool.

Consider wiki as a help authoring tool.

H

hold a meeting = meet

has the ability to/has the capability = can

John has the ability to publish context sensitive help.

John can publish context sensitive help.

I

in a clear way = clearly

in a careful manner = carefully

Talk to geeks in a careful manner.

Talk to geeks carefully.

J

joint collaboration = collaboration

Join together = join

Let’s join together for a meeting in the cafeteria.

Let’s join for a meeting in the cafeteria.

L

last but not least = finally

Last but not least, we must proofread our writing.

Finally, we must proofread our writing.

M

make an examination of = examine

make an assumption = assume

Let’s make an assumption, for a moment, that technical writers get more respect than software developers.

Let’s assume, for a moment, that technical writers get more respect than software developers.

N

not withstanding the fact that = although/despite/even if/however

new record = record

He set a new record!

He set a record!

O

on most occasions = usually

on a daily basis, on a regular basis = daily, regularly

He jogged for three miles on a daily basis.

He jogged for three miles daily.

P

per annum = annually/yearly

He received a $5000 pension per annum.

He received a $5000 pension annually.

R

realize a savings of = save

regardless of the fact that = although

Regardless of the fact that you know HTML, you still need to learn RoboHelp.

Although you know HTML, you still need to learn RoboHelp.

S

says exactly the same thing = repeats

My parrot says exactly the same thing.

My parrot repeats.

T

to a large degree = largely

take into consideration = consider

Take into consideration the price when you compare RoboHelp and Madcap Flare.

Consider the price when you compare RoboHelp and Madcap Flare.

U

until such time = until

unintentional mistake = mistake

He made an unintentional mistake.

He made a mistake.

W

whether or not = whether

we are of the opinion = we believe/we think

We are of the opinion that wiki is the future of technical writing.

We believe that wiki is the future of technical writing.


I’m curious to know if you also encounter wordy phrases at your work. Leave a comment and let me know.

Advertisements

9 responses to “Make your Sentences Slim (by removing 35 Wordy Phrases)

  1. Pingback: Getting Rid of Misplaced Modifiers « Technical Writing ToolBox

  2. Samir Mishra June 1, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Interesting article Gurpreet. I am dealing with most of these while editing tech documents as part of my job. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Shashidhar June 2, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I enjoyed your book.
    I enjoyed reading your book.
    The first guy enjoyed it for the wrong reason?

  4. Shashidhar June 2, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Let’s join in the cafeteria.
    What do you mean?

  5. James Evans June 3, 2012 at 5:03 am

    Very useful information. Thanks for thinking of us

  6. Pingback: A few links for the end of the week | Words on a page

  7. Barbara Saunders June 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Both sentences in example B-2 are imprecise. As structured, they mean that like writing causes liking reading. “Because technical writers like writing, WE MIGHT SUSPECT that they enjoy reading as well.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: