To make your writing shorter and more vigorous, an easy technique is to look for:
- weak verbs
- words ending with -ed.
Often we write and edit under intense time pressure, so to helps to develop quick writing reflexes.
This week while subbing TV news scripts, I saw two examples.
- Locals have expressed concerns – expressED stands out. First of all, have expressED sounds ‘past’. Also, expressed sounds weak.
It’s much punchier to write: Locals are concerned. Sure, concernED ends with ED -but have expressed concerns ‘suggests’ the stronger ARE concerned.
Locals have expressed concerns
Locals are concerned.
As you can see, the tweak makes the writing shorter AND written in a tense that is happening now.
2. To provide improvED training.
The -ED draws my eye to the words around it – to provide is a weak verb.
It’s much punchier and shorter to turn
to provide improved training
to improve training
Simple and easy!