Posted by: Jack Henry | March 17, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Avoid Noun Strings

Good morning!

This is the last tip I have for you from

Avoid Vague Nouns and Noun Strings

All-purpose nouns, such as factor, situation, and area, lead to obscure writing.

· Vague: A college education is an important factor in finding a job in the area of accounting.

· Better: For accounting jobs, a college degree is important.

Writers in a specialty niche such as healthcare or technology often slip into jargon, resulting in noun strings that obscure meaning.

· Vague: The mammography team is working on the radiology technologist radiation protection quality improvement program.

· Better: The mammography team will complete a quality improvement program for protecting radiology technicians from excess radiation.

Writing for clarity requires a ruthless eye for editing your work; it’s helpful to walk away from your composition for a few hours and approach it with new eyes. Then cut the unnecessary, rewrite the unwieldy, and, in the words of Elmore Leonard, “Try to leave out the parts that people skip.”

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

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  1. […] has written about avoiding noun strings before, but I’m mentioning it again because it is a common problem in technical writing. […]

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