Saying what you mean—the hard part of writing 3

rogersgeorge on June 13th, 2010

We writers tend to assume our readers can fix our own sloppy writing by supplying the words we leave out. Leaving out critical words can cause us to create some preposterous sentences. These examples aren’t exactly preposterous, but they should make the point.

“Being able to use longer, lighter ducts reduces the hangers you need.” What you mean is “…reduces the number of hangers…” Construction workers use fewer hangers, they don’t use reduced hangers. Whatever reduced hangers are.

“Both organizations begin with ‘M.’ ” Actually, their names begin with “M.”

“The traffic here is as bad as New York City.” Nope. You mean “…as bad as the traffic in NYC.”

Your reader’s brain supplies the missing word after a moment, but only after a little hiccup in the reading process. You don’t want the hiccups. You have to think about your writing to catch these, but it’s worth the effort.

Keep your eyes open for these and send us the next one you find.

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