Monday, December 15, 2008

Editing Tip of the Week: Simple Solutions for Bloated Sentences

Chicago Manual of Style continues to surprise me. I just read that the word till is perfectly acceptable to use in a sentence, as in The cafe is open till midnight. But till is not the conjunction of until and shouldn't be written as 'til. I am guilty of writing it as such, and I'm enjoying this moment of awakening. Sometimes the seemingly more complicated word usage is wrong. That should make any writer feel a bit of relief.

Words and phrases that sometimes complicate and jumble our sentences are broken down by Chicago. The manual refers to the term numerous as a bloated way of saying many. The long-winded due to the fact that is dismissed with the instruction to use because instead. Chicago even dislikes the phrase in excess of, preferring the simple more than or even over.

These are examples of phrases that we tend to use to overcompensate for our uncertainties in writing. You may roll your eyes at the mantra less is more, so try remembering that sometimes when you write more than is necessary, readers may read less and only skim for the true point in your work. And no writer should settle for that.

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  2. Thank you for these great editing tips. I used to use "'til" all the time and now I write out the entire word "until" thanks to this post. The tips stay with me and I take away great information.