All writers strew less-than-perfect turns of phrase in their first draft—unnecessary words and phrases that slow down the writing. Here are five stylistic flaws that can be eliminated in revision.
1. Unnecessary prepositional phrases
EXAMPLE: After all my hard work, the superintendent’s compliment was gratifying to me. BETTER: After all my hard work, the superintendent’s compliment was gratifying. The “to me” can be inferred by the reader.
2. Adverbs that are weak substitutes for a vivid verb
EXAMPLE: The stranger walked threateningly toward us
BETTER: The stranger stalked toward us.
Steven King said, “The adverb is not your friend.” Replace them with an evocative verb as much as possible. Examples:
walked slowly = ambled, strolled, sauntered
ran = bolted, raced (and many more)
spoke softly = whispered
spoke loudly = shouted
3.Stalling phrases such as tried to, seemed to, began to, started to
The sun’s reflection seemed to…
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