ClearTips: Edit yourself

Superfluous verbs

There are two classes of superfluous verb. One is an array of pretenders—idle, common verbs that supplant a working verb, which becomes a noun: such verbs as do, have, is, make, provide, and serve.

do a study of the effects
CHANGE TO
study the effects

have a tendency to

CHANGE TO
tend to
is indicative of
CHANGE TO
indicates

make changes in

CHANGE TO
change
make decisions about
CHANGE TO
decide on
make progress toward
CHANGE TO
progress toward

provide a summary of

CHANGE TO
summarize
serve to make reductions
CHANGE TO
reduce

This formula changes the objective noun to a verb and displaces the pretender. Take care, however, not to be too zealous in applying this formula, or you will end up with such artificial verbs as prioritize, concretize, or incentivize.

The second class of superfluous verb is found in clauses that modify nouns. Such verbs, along with the pronouns and helping verbs that precede them, can often be deleted.

the ice that is contained in
CHANGE TO
the ice in
the people who are concerned are
CHANGE TO
the people are
the argument that is included in
CHANGE TO
the argument in
the tasks that are involved in
CHANGE TO
the tasks in
the people who are located in
CHANGE TO
the people in
the numbers shown in
CHANGE TO
the numbers in
the estimates presented in
CHANGE TO
the estimates in
the facts given in
CHANGE TO
the facts in

Back to Edit yourselfNext


 
Edit yourself
Stunning sentences
Powerful paragraphs
Riveting reports
ClearWriter
ClearTips