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In business, clarity is crucial when communicating ideas across a wide range of professions. Your writing should be focused to a point in which your message does not get lost in the process. Many business professionals can improve the clarity of their writing by concentrating on eliminating redundant language.
When editing your business e-mails or articles, you should follow these steps:
During the process of cleaning up your copy, do not be afraid to use the Delete button. Avoid any repetition in your sentences by looking for repeated words or ideas that could easily be streamlined into a few main points. Simply put, do not say the same thing twice! Specifically, look out for terms, such as true statements and facts, that repeat themselves; these are known as pleonasms. For example, rather than saying “12 midnight” you could say “midnight.” Repetitions can come across as unprofessional and even confusing.
Apart from reviewing your overall arguments, don’t forget to take a closer look at your chosen words and generic phrases. You can often eliminate words that do not add meaning or value to your message. This process of thinning out your writing produces short, clear sentences that strengthen your overall message.
Be sure that in your effort to produce a concise message, you do not delete any words that could add context or meaning to your argument. One quick way to delete unnecessary words is to look for intensifiers that have no true reason for being in your text. Words such as “really” and “very” can usually be deleted to allow for brevity. These intensifiers create a repetitious structure.
At some point during the editing process, you’ll notice that although your text is increasing in clarity and focus, it still needs tidying up in terms of substituting words. First, replace proper names with “he,” “she,” or “they.” Then comb through your document and find any excessive use of the same words. For example, instead of writing “thoughts and ideas,” you can use “thoughts” or “ideas,” but not both. This is an example of how wordy passages should be replaced with specific details.
Replace any outdated expressions that may come across as stuffy or lacking in authenticity. These expressions, while not repeated within your document, can create a repetitive tone because they will often be found in other documents. In general, repeated words create an unpleasant reading experience. However, note that the use of a thesaurus should be judicious, as choosing an incorrect substitution may prove embarrassing.
Once your writing has been through the process of cutting and replacing, the final step involves changing sentence structure. Modifying the way a thought is communicated can give a fresh spin to the same concept.
First, find the key words and phrases in your sentences. Be sure you do not include more than one word that has the same meaning. Next, place the strongest idea at the beginning of your new sentence. Finally, revise the sentence so it contains your essential thoughts but eliminates repetition.
You can also write an outline of your argument, including the main idea, supporting evidence, and key analysis. Then delete unrelated ideas, eliminate redundancy, and add new commentary to expand on your ideas. Your new commentary should include original ideas to supplement your previously existing content.
Overview of Your Business Editing and Proofreading
Use these tips to avoid business documents with redundant language. Ultimately, editing and revising business writing should not be a complicated process. When reviewing your documents, just look out for any words or phrases that could be deleted and any sentences that could be restructured. It is important to take the extra time to review your work to avoid redundancy.