There are some bad writing habits we all slip into from time to time.
One is wordiness. If you tend to be wordy, here’s a fast way to
fix the problem:
Use your “find & replace” key [hit Control + F in MS
Word], then type in “tion” in the “find” box
and search through your document. Each time you find a word that ends
in “tion” (for example: observation, translation,
allocation), try to eliminate it. Why?
There are three big problems with “tion” words.
- They are usually long – three to four syllables. Readers tend to stumble on long words.
usually don’t create a picture in the reader’s mind. (If I
write “dog” you are likely to see a dog in your
mind’s eye. If I write “allocation” you will see
nothing). Good writing is all about pictures.
usually form these words by taking a perfectly good verb (eg: observe)
and adding “tion” to turn it into a noun
(“observation.”) To make a sentence, you THEN have to add
ANOTHER verb – usually a boring one like “is” or
“made” (eg: “He made an observation.”) This
makes your writing dull and wordy.
The best way to eliminate the “tion” word is to turn the
noun back into its original verb: She observed the problem; he
translated the document.
This week as you’re writing: watch for words ending in “tion” and try to eliminate them.