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Appendix A.6: Eliminating Clutter

Appendix A.6: Eliminating Clutter
The bottom line:
Use no more words than necessary.
Don’t be wordy.
“I have made this letter longer than usual
because I lack the time to make it shorter.”
--Blaise Pascal
Unnecessary Introductions
• As I look back on what I have said in this memo, it seems
as if we have the potential to succeed.
• For all practical purposes, we cannot continue to
• In this day and age, we cannot afford complacency.
Submerged Verbs
• Verbs that have been hidden as another part
of speech, usually a noun (nominalization).
• Conduct an investigation
• Bring about an end
• Initiate contact
Long-Winded Phrases
At this point in time =
In many instances =
Upon the condition =
Enclosed herein =
In this day an age =
With the exception of =
Obvious Modifiers
Red in color
Past history
Future prospects
Few in number
Annual fundraiser held each year
Repetitious Wording
• Our business must earn a profit this quarter.
In addition, our business needs to conduct
research into new products. We also should
implement an investigation of new markets.
• Our business must earn a profit this quarter,
research new products, and investigate new
1. In the event that the conductor becomes
hot, shut down the unit.
2. This airbrush has a tendency to leak.
Fire drills are important because fire drills provide
students with practice in emergency evacuation
procedures that they will have to know in the
event of an actual fire.
Fire drills are important because they allow
students to practice evacuating for a real fire.
Fire drills are important because they allow
students to practice emergency evacuation
4. The Desert Storm war was relatively
brief in duration.
5. Prior to entering the factory, please
sign the visitors’ log book.
Appendix 7: Use Simple
• In general, don’t use big, fancy words when
short, common ones will do the job.
• Advantages: short, common words are
understood more quickly by more readers;
less chance of misuse or misspelling
• But, choose your words with the reader in
mind (e.g. technical terms).
Remunerate =
Endeavor =
Terminate =
Customary =
Solicit =
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