The authors will be holding a discussion about registration, to better give instruction to the participants who have to make a choice between which sessions to attend. (27 words)
- The authors will discuss registration, to better instruct the participants who have to choose which sessions to attend. (18 words)
- This is a 33% reduction in length in one sentence. Envision the impact on a long document!
These are smothered verbs. There were 6 unnecessary words in that single sentence. Un-smothering your verbs is an opportunity to greatly improve your business writing. Active, vibrant, un-smothered verbs bring both vitality and clarity to your writing.
Smothered verbs are action words that are buried in a group of other words. Eliminating the other words creates a clearer, more forceful sentence. Smothering phrases often begin with a form of be, give, have, make or take. The noun in the phrase often ends with -ion or -ment. Here are some examples of smothered verbs with their clearer alternatives:
- have a suspicion / suspect
- make an agreement / agree
- hold a discussion / discuss
- give instruction to / instruct
- make a choice / choose
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