Words to “X” from Your Writing

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know I’m a day behind on my A to Z posts. Shoot me. Go ahead. Put me out of my misery because I’ve hit a wall with three posts left.

 X
X is for…well, “X”

Let’s discuss words you should “X” from your writing. If you’re like me, you may have occasionally padded your writing in school to meet minimum word or page counts. No? Does this scenario sound familiar?

It’s 2 a.m. Your history essay is due in a few hours, but you’ve fallen short of the page requirement. You’ve racked your brain and can’t think of anything else to write. What do you do?

Yeah, so it’s 2 a.m. in the morning and you’re very tired but don’t worry because this solution doesn’t require advance planning. Actually, it is fairly easy to increase the page count of your essay. In order to achieve the final goal, you really don’t need to analyze each individual word that you’ve written down. Basically, you can do several things to lengthen the essay. These are things like adding adverbs, redundant words or phrases, and using the passive voice. You can be really clever about increasing your word count by adding an additional unnecessary sentence. You can take two sentences to say what could be said with just one.

Okay, calm down. I’m not advocating the advice above. I’m showing you an example of what NOT to do and boy it was painful. Let’s examine each sentence.

Sentence 1: eliminate adverbs, redundant words and phrases, and replace weak verbs with stronger ones.

Original – Yeah, so it’s 2 a.m. in the morning and you’re very tired, but don’t worry because this solution doesn’t require advance planning.

Revised – Yeah, it’s 2 a.m. and you’re exhausted, but don’t worry. This solution doesn’t require planning.

Sentence 2: eliminate the adverbs, remove prepositional phrases, and reposition the subject of the sentence.

Original – Actually, it is fairly easy to increase the page count of your essay.

Revised – Increasing the essay’s page count is easy.

Sentence 3: eliminate redundant words and phrases, adverbs, and replace verbs with stronger ones.

Original – In order to achieve your final goal, you really don’t need to analyze each individual word that you’ve written down.

Revised – Analyzing each word you’ve written isn’t necessary to achieve your goal.

Sentence 4 and 5: eliminate adverbs, combine related sentences.

Original – Basically, you can do several things to lengthen the essay. These are things like adding adverbs, redundant words and phrases, and using the passive voice.

Revised – Lengthen the essay by adding adverbs, redundant words and phrases, and using the passive voice.

Sentence 6 and 7: eliminate adverbs, passive voice, redundant phrases, and combine and condense redundant sentences into one.

Original – You can be really clever about increasing your word count by adding an additional unnecessary sentence. You can take two sentences to say what could be said with just one.

Revised – Increase the word count by taking two sentences to say what could be said with one.

The revised sentences aren’t perfect, but you get the idea. I’ve previously discussed adverbs, redundancy, and passive voice in the posts below. Click on the links to read more.

Use Adverbs in Moderation
Have You Met Captain Obvious? Master of Superfluous Redundancy
Don’t be a Passivist

To see what other A to Z participants are blogging about this month, please click here to link to their blogs.

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8 thoughts on “Words to “X” from Your Writing”

    1. Whew! I did it! Just pressed the publish button on my Z post. Now I’m off to see what all my new A to Z buddies have been up to starting with your blog. Thanks Susan. 🙂

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