Peo­ple love to talk.

And one area where that’s obvi­ous is in writ­ing. I’ve been writ­ing and edit­ing for near­ly 30 years, and one com­mon habit I’ve seen dur­ing that time has been wordi­ness. We have a ten­den­cy to use more words than nec­es­sary to get our point across.

One habit that con­tributes to wordi­ness is using excess prepo­si­tions.

Con­sid­er these 4 exam­ples:

  1. The loca­tion of the busi­ness is next to the street with a lot of traf­fic vs. The busi­ness is next to the busy street.
  2. The shirt of the boy was worn with pride. vs. The boy pride­ful­ly wore his shirt.
  3. A num­ber of oranges vs. Sev­er­al oranges
  4. He hand­ed the cheque to me. vs. He hand­ed me the cheque.

Notice how the prepo­si­tions “of”, “with”, and “to” in these sen­tences made them longer than they need­ed to be? The first exam­ple had twice as many words as it need­ed.

Now, don’t get me wrong: prepo­si­tions aren’t a bad thing, and I’m not say­ing to nev­er use them. How­ev­er, when you do use them, make sure they serve the right pur­pose.

About Kim Siever

I am a copy­writer and copy­ed­i­tor. I blog on writ­ing tips most­ly, but I some­times throw in my thoughts about run­ning a small busi­ness. Fol­low me on Twit­ter at @hotpepper.

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