Posted by: Jack Henry | December 3, 2020

Editor’s Corner: Simplify (and Contest Reminder)

Hello, folks! Today I have an extensive list of ways to minimize unnecessary wordiness. If you have your grammar checker turned on in Word or Outlook®, you have probably seen some of these corrections. (And if you aren’t using the spelling or grammar help, do yourself a favor and review these documents: proofreading in Word and Outlook.)

These phrase alternatives are from Daily Writing Tips:

The following phrases need not be summarily replaced by more concise alternatives, but consider making the switch, especially when you find yourself using various wordy phrases frequently in the same text.

1. a number of: some, many
2. afford an opportunity: allow, let
3. an appreciable number of: many
4. as a means of: to
5. as prescribed by: in, under
6. at the present time: now
7. by means of: by, with
8. comply with: follow
9. due to the fact that: because, due to, since
10. during the period of: during
11. for a period of: for
12. has a requirement for: needs, requires
13. have an adverse effect on: hurt, set back
14. in a timely manner: on time, promptly
15. in accordance with: by, following, per, under
16. in addition: also, besides, too
17. in an effort to: to
18. in close proximity: near
19. in lieu of: instead of
20. in order for: for
21. in order that: so
22. in order to: to
23. in regard to: about, concerning, on
24. in relation to: about, to, with
25. in the amount of: amounting to, for
26. in the event of: if
27. in the near future: shortly, soon
28. in the process of: (omit without replacement)
29. in view of: because, since
30. is applicable to: applies to
31. is authorized to: can, may
32. is in consonance with: agrees with, follows
33. is responsible for: handles
34. it is essential that [one]: [one] must
35. it is incumbent upon [one] to: [one] should, [one] must
36. it is requested that you: please
37. pertaining to: about, of, on
38. provide(s) guidance for/to: guides [KC – And you shouldn’t be using (s) like that! Write it singularly, or plurally if there can be more than one. People will get it. The parentheses just make things more
39. relative to: about, on
40. set forth in: in
41. similar to: like
42. successfully accomplish/complete: accomplish/complete [KC – And don’t use a slash if you can use a word or punctuation, for example “accomplish or complete,” or “accomplish, complete, or die trying.”]
43. take action to: (omit without replacement)
44. the month (or year) of: (omit without replacement)
45. the use of: (omit without replacement)
46. time period: period, time
47. under the provisions of: under
48. until such time as: until
49. with reference to: about
50. with the exception of: except

Sometimes we get carried away and use these phrases, but your writing is much stronger and more straightforward without a lot of extra fluff. Try cutting these phrases out of your writing! It’s easy and it’s fun!

And don’t forget, if you have any malaphors for the contest, they are due Tuesday, December 8. Here are a couple from the book I’m giving as a prize to two winners, He Smokes Like a Fish and Other Malaphors:

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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