Editing Tricks To Tighten Your Writing

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Editing Tricks to Tighten Your Writing

Writing is like running a marathon, meaning you only win a medal if you persevere to the finishing line.

Even if you lead the pack from the start and then drop out or are overtaken in the last 100 meters, you will still lose the medal.

The reason is that how you finish determines whether you win or not.


It is like the last 100 meters of a marathon that determines whether your writing copies will pass for excellence or mediocrity.

Therefore, https://10pagepapers.com/blog/10-steps-to-write-10-page-paper-just-in-one-night/ has compiled these editing tricks to tighten your writing and rid them of all “watery” content that could either make your papers hard to understand or boring.


Use the Active Voice

When editing your copy, hunt down the passive voice and eliminate it as much as possible.

The reason is that we have places where it is alright to use the passive voice.

However, when you go beyond a certain level, it becomes cumbersome for the reader to understand clearly what you are saying.

Additionally, the passive voice, in some cases, exposes you to wordiness.

For instance, saying “The dog was killed by John” requires six words.

If you use the active voice to say the same thing, you will use only four words, “John killed the dog.”

This means that the active voice has saved you onethird of the words you had used in the passive version of the sentence.


Avoid “Things” as Much as Possible

Unless you are dealing with unknown items, you should avoid the word “things.”

If you want to make a general statement without specific details, you can use the term “things.”

For instance, if you look at someone’s life and you see they are disoriented but you cannot point to a particular cause such as financial or marital problems, you are justified to say “things” are not okay in that person’s life.

Reason? You are only dealing with symptoms without diagnosing the real cause.


However, if you are dealing with objects that have known names, it is necessary to use them.

For instance, instead of saying, “Here are ten things that will make you fail in your exams,” you can replace the word “things” with “reasons” or “causes.” Another good word for replacing “things” is “factor/s.”

Using names makes it easy for your readers to understand your message because your statements are clear.

So, you now know when and where to use the term “thing” or “things” and when to avoid it.


Reduce “That”

Another phrase you need to moderate in your writings is “that.”

You should search your copies to see where you have abused the term. The reason is that it is easy to confuse it with “which.” Therefore, you should check to see if you have used it correctly.

For instance, when you use the term “that,” you don’t need to add a comma in front of it.

Additionally, you should remove it from all sentences if it does not add value to them. For instance, a sentence like, “I decided that I will go back to school” can be rephrased to read, “I decided to go back to school.”

If you compare the two sentences, the first one with an unnecessary “that” has nine words while the revised one has seven. What does it tell you? Abusing “that,” just like the passive voice, makes your writings wordy.


Avoid Negatives

Even though nothing is wrong with using “don’t” or “can’t,” you should avoid or replace it with other terms so that your writings don’t look like a reenacting of the ten commandments.

I know you will hear some “experts” telling you to avoid using these two words because they make your papers sound negative.

However, the problem is not using or not using them. Instead, it is a matter of balance and extent.

For instance, if you want to warn your readers against something ten times in your copy, you can complement the “don’ts” and “cant’s” with terms like “avoid.” Additionally, you can rephrase some of them positively.

For instance, instead of saying, “don’t be careless with your studies,” you can say “be careful with your studies.” In the second sentence, the message is the same even though we have removed the “don’t.”


Check How You Use Your Voice

In writing, the voice you choose for your copies is critical in maintaining consistency throughout your work.

Unless in some few cases where you are free to use the first, second, and third person, you should stick to one voice.

For instance, some writings permit you to make statements like, “In this post, I (the first person) will take you (the second person) through…”

In the process of explaining some facts or giving examples, you can still use the third person tone.

For instance, if you are giving an example of how children are dropping out of school due to poverty, you could still use a statement like “most of them (third person) drop from school at age…”

So, when editing, you need to check for the relevance and consistency of every voice you used in your writing.

Reduce Adverbs

Even though adverbs are good tools for avoiding wordiness, you should check your writings to ensure you have not used too many of them.

If you don’t, you will attain your goal of brevity but end up boring your readers with repetitive and clumsy phrases. For instance, using an adverb like “softly” can help you shorten long sentences.


Look at this example: “He applied the oil in a soft manner.” Using an adverb softly will reduce it by three words and read, “He applied the oil softly.”

However, your writings, no matter how brief they are, will look crazy when every description ends with “ly.”

When editing, outgrow many of the grammar software “suggestions” regarding “wordiness” and use more words when it is needful to achieve balance in your papers.

You are now up to date with some of the errors you need to fix to create a flawless copy. Apply to enjoy them.


One thought on “Editing Tricks To Tighten Your Writing

  • January 7, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for the good tips on editing. :) — Suzanne


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