Simplifying Sentences Exercise (92)

Improve these sentences by restructuring them to be more direct and by removing extraneous words.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: The subjects had been together from early childhood and were to remain at the facility for just a few months.
Correct : The subjects, together from early childhood, were to remain at the facility for just a few months.

Sentences with two ideas can sometimes be simplified by eliminating the first verb, bracketing the first idea as a parenthetical phrase, and deleting the conjunction that separates the ideas.

2.
Original: The book was written by a former volunteer and told the harrowing story.
Correct : The book, written by a former volunteer, told the harrowing story.

Again, the first of two ideas, when subordinate to the second idea, is often easily set aside as an expendable parenthetical phrase.

3.
Original: The programs had an important impact on the health and economy of the local community and resulted in more sustainable lifestyles and conservation.
Correct : The programs, which had an important impact on the health and economy of the local community, resulted in more sustainable lifestyles and conservation.

Sometimes, as here, the strategy shown in the first two examples involves inserting a transitional word such as which. The sentence length remains the same, but the statement is more cleanly organized.

4.
Original: The rock was later weighed and found to be a bone-crushing 120 pounds.
Correct : The rock, found later, weighed in at a bone-crushing 120 pounds.

Sometimes, when one of two ideas is rendered parenthetical, the second idea is the best candidate for this treatment. (The meaning of found in the revision is different than its meaning in the original sentence, but the rewording makes the statement more coherent.)

5.
Original: Her years spent inspiring others would deeply and forever ingrain two principles, the first being the importance of educating others in order to accomplish change, and the second being the value of sitting down and talking with the people we disagree with.
Correct : Her years spent inspiring others would deeply and forever ingrain two principles: the importance of educating others in order to accomplish change and the value of sitting down and talking with the people we disagree with.

When two or more items are enumerated after an introductory phrase, a colon can replace the explicit wording that indicates a listing or a sequence, as here.

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