Pearson Adult Learning Centre HomePearson Adult Learning Centre: Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde



Be More Concise without a "Be"

 Concise writing creates better understanding. Often, my students overwrite their ideas, perhaps thinking that writing this way will sound more intelligent. Instead, the writing sounds fat and imprecise. One way to improve the situation is to watch out for overusing the simple form, "to be," by omitting it entirely. 

Here are a few examples to show what I mean

"He is unable to come to the dinner tonight" can be stated as "He cannot come to the dinner tonight." (reduced by two words)

"The principal is in agreement with the decision to change the schedule" can be stated as "The principal agrees with the decision to change the schedule." (reduced by two words)

"The students will be in attendance by 9 o'clock, or they cannot write the test" can be stated as "The students will attend by 9 o'clock, or they cannot write the test." (reduced by two words)

Check your writing carefully for these kinds of wordy constructions and change them!

(May 6, 2012)

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