Writing Concise Sentences. By Worth Weller. In a Nutshell.
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Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
Be alert for clauses or phrases that can be pared to simpler, shorter constructions. The "which clause" can often be shortened to a simple adjective. (Be careful, however, not to lose some needed emphasis by over-pruning; the word "which," which is sometimes necessary [as it is in this sentence], is not evil.)
This sounds like something a politician has to learn to avoid, but, no, an expletive construction is a common device that often robs a sentence of energy before it gets a chance to do its work. Expletive constructions begin with there is/are or it is.
There are twenty-five students who have already expressed a desire to attend the program next summer. It is they and their parents who stand to gain the most by the government grant.
Twenty-five students have already expressed a desire to attend the program next summer. They and their parents stand to gain the most by the government grant.
A cliché is an expression that was probably, once upon a time, an original and brilliant way of saying something. Imagine being the first person to say something as clever as "She fell head over heels in love"
or "She's cool as a cucumber."
Sadly, though, such expressions eventually lose their luster and become trite and even annoying. Writers who indulge in tired language are not being respectful to their readers, and readers return the compliment by losing attention and going on to something else.