Writers Tricks of the Trade ISSUE 1, VOLUME 9 - Page 22

ATTENTION WRITERS: A RE Y OU G UILTY OF U SING “C LUNKY ” WORDS ? H AL M ORRIS WWW . GRUMPYEDITOR . COM Thanks to former LA Times and Los Angeles Mirror reporter and columnist, Hal Morris, who hangs out at www.grumpyeditor.com these days, here are more tips for writers. B rowsing the web, I ran across inter- esting material directed at writers from Oxford Royale Academy, Ox- ford, United Kingdom. It focuses on “clunky” (a seldom used word in the U.S.) phrases that can be short- ened or altered “to make them more ele- gant.” Oxford Royale points out the phrases are usually redundant, read poorly or take several words that could be wrapped up in one. “Another factor behind clunky phrasing is the need to sound more intellectual” and it degrades the quality of your writing, it adds. Among the clunky phrases, it cites “in terms of” as meaningless. Just change it to “about,” it suggests. Some other examples: In most cases, “in order to” works just as well without the “in order.” Instead of putting an “of” in your writ- ing, such as with “finished all of the work,” forget the “of” since “of” is only necessary when the word following it is a pronoun, as in “all of us” or “all of them.” “At the end of the day” takes six words that could be said in one --- ultimately. Forget using “first and foremost” be- cause “first” and “foremost” mean the same thing. So it’s unnecessary to use both. “It is important to note that” is a fairly meaningless expression that could be equally expressed with “importantly.” Rather than using “in actual fact,” just use “actually,” or don’t use it. Substitute “because” or “since.” for “inas much as”. “In excess of” is a pompous way of writing “over” or “more than.” “Whether or not” does just as well with “whether.” Weed out unnecessary repetition, such as 10 a.m. in the morning. A BOUT THE A UTHOR : Hal Morris spent two decades at Times-Mirror Co. — Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Mirror. Early bylines, while a young, full-time editorial staffer at The Times, were as campus correspondent, Los Angeles City College, and fre- quent contributor to The Times’ glossy Sunday Home Magazine, writing mostly about plants and flowers. He was one of the first nine editorial people hired when the Los Angeles Mirror started. Read Hal’s Spotlight Interview on begin- ning on Page 19 . S PRING 2019 P AGE 17 W RITERS ’ T RICKS OF THE T RADE