Strengthen Your Writing with Three Self-Editing Tips
The English language, like mathematics, has rules that make your message clear and understandable. In today’s era of e-mail and text communications, some may feel the rules of communication are largely unimportant as long as one gets the message across. But we know from verbal communication that how one says something is often as important, maybe even more important, than the actual words being said.
When you want to ensure your written communications are professional and clear, knowing the following three few self-editing tricks can enhance your prose.
Every sentence has nouns and verbs. For example, consider three parts of the sentence, “The boy runs to the store.” The most important part is the verb, or action word, “runs.” The other two parts are both nouns. “Boy” is the subject, the thing doing the action, while “store” is the object, the thing being acted upon. In effect, this structure amounts to noun, verb, noun, or “a something does something to something.”
An easy way to figure out if a sentence is strong and active is to make sure the answers to the following three questions are clear in the way your sentence is constructed:
Now consider this sentence: “It is the boy who ran to the store.” It has the same three parts from the first example. “Boy” is the subject. “Ran” is the verb. And “store” is the object. However, it has extras words that weaken the sentence’s meaning: “who,” “it,” and “is.” And adding these words broke away from the “a something does something to something” model, weakening the overall effect.
3. Activate Your Verbs
Now consider the sentence: “The boy runs to the store delivering apples.” While the sentence is not incorrect, the imperative form can be used with a stronger clarifying effect: “The boy runs to the store to deliver apples.”
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