Trimming Your Writing

Trimming your paper can be very useful. A writer can eliminate useless information through the editing process. Time must always be allowed for thorough and careful editing in order to insure clean and error-free work. It is helpful to create a checklist of editing to use as the manuscript is proofed. Patterns of editing problems often become apparent and understanding these patterns can eliminate them. Examples of patterns of errors include misuse of commas, difficulty in shifting tenses, and spelling problems. Once these patterns are seen, it is much easier to avoid them in the original writing. A checklist should be prepared based on every piece of writing, and should be cumulative. In this manner, progress may be checked regularly and the quantity and type of errors should be reduced over time. It is often helpful to have a peer proof a manuscript, to get a fresh set of eyes on the material. Editing should be treated as an opportunity to polish and perfect a written work, rather than a chore that must be done. A good editor usually turns into a better writer over time. Computers are a wonderful tool for writers but they must be employed by the writer, rather than as the writer. Skillful use of computers should result in a finely polished manuscript free of errors.

It’s very important that writers trim their writing as much as possible. The more concise their writing the better because it makes it easier for the reader to understand what they are trying to say. Take a look at this first sentence. A bike that belongs to Ann is in the garage. The writer of this sentence is able to express accurately what they want to say; however, their sentence could be trimmed down a little bit because there are extra words in the sentence. So by making Ann possessive this sentence could be shortened by quite a bit. Ann’s bike is in the garage. So notice what I did here. Just by adding apostrophe S to Ann I was able to shorten the sentence by quite a bit, trimming this sentence up and making it more concise. There are also prepositional phrases that writers often use that aren’t needed. One of those is “in my opinion”. A writer will often start off a sentence by saying “in my opinion.” However, this isn’t really needed because anyone who is reading something knows that it’s the writer’s opinion so the writer doesn’t need to tell the reader that it’s in their opinion. So oftentimes a prepositional phrase like this can just be removed from the sentence and the sentence will still make sense and it will be a little bit more concise and easier for the reader to understand. There are also phrases that writers often use that are a little bit too wordy. Some of those include “refer back,” or “end result.” In both of these cases, these phrases can be shortened to one word. If you look at refer back, they mean the same thing. If you refer to something it means to go back to something so either word here could be eliminated and it would still be the same meaning. The same thing with end result. End and the result mean the same thing so if we eliminate end, result is the same thing. End result is no different than just saying results so if you can say something in less words always try to say it in as few words as possible. There are also some words that are overused – very and extremely. Very and extremely don’t have much meaning on their own so if you over use them they have even less meaning. So it’s important to use words like “very” and “extremely” sparingly. Take a look at these two sentences. I am very elated. I am very happy. Elated simply means extremely happy so to say I am very extremely happy doesn’t really make sense because someone can’t simply be more happy than elated. So “very” could be removed from this sentence. I am elated. Now in this sentence “very” plays more of an important role because if someone was to say “I am happy” the reader doesn’t really know how happy the writer is but by inserting the word “very” the reader now knows that the author is very happy. So sometimes “very” and “extremely” and other words of that nature do have a place and they are important but many times they can be eliminated. So as a writer, always be looking for places to trim your work. Be looking for words that can be eliminated. Be looking for prepositional phrases that can be removed from the sentence and even look for sentences that can be removed from the paragraphs that aren’t needed.


Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 12/18/2017
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