Posted by: episystechpubs | November 15, 2018

Editor’s Corner: Smothered Verbs Quiz

Many of you have told me that you enjoy an occasional quiz, so for you sadists, happy quiz day! I found this quiz on Daily Writing Tips. It’s a good one to help us avoid unnecessary words that clutter our writing. This quiz will help you identify and revise “smothered verbs.”

But first, what is a smothered verb? It’s a verb-noun combination (often also including an article or preposition) that can easily be replaced by a simple verb. The noun in this combination is often a word that ends in –tion, –sion, –ment, –ance, or –ence. An example of smothering a verb is to write “have a discussion” rather than “discuss.”

  • Your manager wants to have a discussion about your goals for this year.
  • Your manager wants to discuss your goals for this year.

In the previous example, one word replaced four. Here’s another example of a smothered verb followed by an uncluttered revision:

  • How many clients do you expect to be in attendance?
  • How many clients do you expect to attend?

Got it? OK. Now that you know what a smothered verb is, are you ready for the quiz? The quiz questions are below. Scroll down to see the answers. Good luck, amigos!

Each of the following sentences includes a smothered verb. Revise the sentences as necessary for conciseness:

  1. The committee will hold a meeting this Wednesday evening at seven o’clock.
  1. I will make a decision after studying the criteria you have given me.
  1. We hope someone can provide an answer to this political question.
  1. A school counselor’s job is to give advice to the students.

5. Please take into consideration the suggestion your father made.

Answers and Explanations

In order to improve sentences containing smothered verbs you simply need to replace them with the original verbs.
Example: Her guardian has made provision for her in his will.
You should replace “has made provision” with “provided.”

1.
Original: The committee will hold a meeting this Wednesday evening at seven o’clock.
Correct: The committee will meet this Wednesday evening at seven o’clock.

2.
Original: I will make a decision after studying the criteria you have given me.
Correct: I will decide after studying the criteria you have given me.

3.
Original: We hope someone can provide an answer to this political question.
Correct: We hope someone can answer this political question.

4.
Original: A school counselor’s job is to give advice to the students.
Correct: A school counselor’s job is to advise the students.

5.
Original: Please take into consideration the suggestion your father made.
Correct: Please consider the suggestion your father made.

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

Symitar Documentation Services

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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