Conciseness Exercise (577)
Revise the following sentence to reduce wordiness.
Answers and Explanations
Original: There were about 100 gallons of diesel that spilled from the truck.
Correct : About 100 gallons of diesel spilled from the truck.
If a sentence begins with an expletive ("it is," "there are," and similar vague phrases), it is almost invariably an improvement to begin the sentence with the subject. (Or, better yet, "The sentence can almost invariably be improved by revising it to begin with the subject.")
Original: They are often referred to as free-range parents, a term that was coined by New York mom Lenore Skenazy.
Correct : They are often referred to as free-range parents, a term coined by New York mom Lenore Skenazy.
The phrase "that was," as here, is often extraneous.
Original: In addition, we want to begin coordinating your travel arrangements. John will contact you shortly to collect your information and travel preferences.
Correct : In addition, so that we can begin coordinating your travel arrangements, John will contact you shortly to collect your information and travel preferences.
Look for opportunities to combine to or more sentences into one, as shown here.
Original: Star Walk is an AR astronomy guide and provides a real-time view of the sky’s stars, constellations, and satellites by pointing the camera at the sky.
Correct : Star Walk, an AR astronomy guide, provides a real-time view of the sky’s stars, constellations, and satellites by pointing the camera at the sky.
When a subject is followed by a phrase beginning with a form of the verb phrase "to be" and another phrase beginning with an active verb, eliminate the weak first verb by turning the first phrase into a subordinate phrase, as shown here, to tighten the sentence.
Original: The company stopped using the system and reverted back to using timesheets.
Correct : The company stopped using the system and reverted to using timesheets.
Be alert to redundant words; "revert" means "refer back," so the use of "back" in the sentence is superfluous.