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April 10, 2014

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Muhammad Daud

Dear Lynn,

Hope you are doing well.

I am Afghan, 26, a struggling and practicing second language professional writer.

I regularly read and practice your slightly packed giant articles. This one, I have printed and pinned adjacent to my table.

You are a highly valued free tutor to me and I really wish you a very happy and healthy life to keep feeding us with most wanted knowledge.

Best Regards

Muhammad Daud

1. in a consistent manner – consistently
2. most of the time - mostly
3. on a frequent basis - frequently
4. subsequent to - subsequently
5. prior to that time – priory
6. a greater number of – plentiful
7. in a timely fashion - appropriate
8. is of the opinion that – belief
9. consensus of opinion – agreement
10. sum total - total
11. is in a position to - ready
12. exactly identical - duplicate
13. refer back - reply
14. is in the process of – procedure
15. may possibly – maybe/perhaps
16. during the course of - throughout
17. due to the fact that - as
18. at the present time – currently/presently
19. just recently - recently
20. during the time that - then

Christie

Muhammad,

As another reader of Lynn's blog (and one who is an editor by trade), I'd like to suggest the following changes to your answers above:

5. prior to that time – before
6. a greater number of – more
7. in a timely fashion - timely
8. is of the opinion that – thinks
9. consensus of opinion – consensus (although agreement works, too)
11. is in a position to - is
12. exactly identical - identical
13. refer back - refer
14. is in the process of – is
15. may possibly – may (or "possibly" by itself, also)
16. during the course of - during (throughout is also correct)
17. due to the fact that - because (your answer, "as," is also okay)
20. during the time that - while

Of course, editing these phrases does depend on their context within a sentence, as Lynn said, and different people might imagine different sentences. I tried to keep one of the original words when editing the list--often, the extra word adds little, if anything, to the statement, and sometimes either of the words is fine, as I noted in some of the answers. (Another example: I know folks who would write "often times" instead of just "often" in the previous sentence, out of habit.)

In any case, I hope this helps, and good luck to you!

-Christie

Chris Kajano

Great Friday morning exercise! I got hung up on a few, particularly 10, 19, and 20. And I refrained from peeking, though as tempted as I was.

1. in a consistent manner - consistently
2. most of the time - often
3. on a frequent basis - frequently
4. subsequent to - subsequently
5. prior to that time - previously
6. a greater number of - additional
7. in a timely fashion - promptly
8. is of the opinion that - believes
9. consensus of opinion - unanimous
10. sum total - result
11. is in a position to - prepared
12. exactly identical - synomomous
13. refer back - reference
14. is in the process of - currently
15. may possibly - likely
16. during the course of - amidst
17. due to the fact that - consequently
18. at the present time - presently
19. just recently - recently
20. during the time that - while

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Muhammad. Thank you for your very thoughtful message! I am glad that my packed articles are helpful to you. I hope you also subscribe to my free newsletter, "Better Writing at Work." If not, you can subscribe at this link:
http://syntaxtraining.com/signup.html

Best wishes,

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Christie, thank you for so promptly responding to Muhammad. I was away from my computer last night, and I appreciate your stepping in with good advice.

I will list my revisions in my next comment.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Muhammad, Christie, and Chris. I am glad you took the test. Rather than respond to each of your lists, I have shown my revisions here:

1. in a consistent manner--consistently

2. most of the time--usually

3. on a frequent basis--frequently

4. subsequent to--after

5. prior to that time--before

6. a greater number of--more

7. in a timely fashion--timely (or promptly, quickly, etc.)

8. is of the opinion that--thinks

9. consensus of opinion--consensus

10. sum total--total

11. is in a position to--can

12. exactly identical--identical

13. refer back--refer

14. is in the process of--is

15. may possibly--may

16. during the course of--during

17. due to the fact that--because

18. at the present time--now

19. just recently--recently (or just)

20. during the time that--while

Our answers may differ. I tried to replace the phrase with either a word within it or a clearer word. Also, I imagined a sentence with the wordy phrase in it so that my revision would be in the same structure.

Thanks for testing yourselves!

Lynn

Lisa Marie

Lynn, this is an excellent post! I want to print it out and post it in my cubicle for all to see.

My favorites are #11 and #14- I love how you reduced whole phrases to two or three letters!

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Lisa Marie. I like 11 and 14 too. Isn't it fun to cut extra words?

I am delighted you are making a sign for your office.

Lynn

Claudia

Thank you, Lynn and contributors. This has a been an interesting exercise for me because my mother tongue is Spanish. Being straight forward or cutting on words is considered rude and uneducated in the Latin world; therefore, I always look for the wordiest way to say things. I am glad to know that less is more.

TGF

Great post!

Muhammad Daud

Thanks a lot Lynn for your courageous reply; I am really feeling more productive and more efficient.

I am so sorry for late reply. After this, I will be using my personal email ID for your blog to follow more actively.

Muhammad Daud

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Claudia, thank you for reminding us what works well in the Latin business world. That's very helpful information.

Lynn

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hello, Muhammad. Would you like me to change the word "courageous" to "courteous" in your April 12 message to me? I can do that.

Thanks for your comment.

Lynn

JP

#20 is quite often "when," not while.
#12 may also be "check" rather than "refer back (to)" (Let me refer back to the rules= Let me check the rules.)
#9 is often better as "agree" rather than "consesus."
"Our consensus is that..." is often crispier written as "we agree that..."

All the other edits, I agree with.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, JP. Thank you for your excellent suggestions. How we edit depends, of course, on the context.

Lynn

Ken

"because of issues of font thickness" or "because of font thickness"? :-)

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Ken. I like the way you think!

I decided to use "issues of" because the debunking made it seem rather complex, with different thicknesses for different font sizes. That's why I hesitated to be as concise as you suggest. Again, I like your thinking, and I could be persuaded.

Lynn

Alison Hill

I wish these edits were compulsory! Thanks for a great post; I've shared it on my Facebook page.

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi, Alison. If you are the editor, you CAN make them compulsory. Good luck!

Lynn

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