Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Those Nagging Little Problems (Part 14 of 16)

Let’s look at sentences that begin with there is or there was. I suggest you avoid using that construction for three reasons.

1. It adds nothing to the value of the sentence.

2. It makes sentences longer. (And today, the rule is short sentences, or bite-sized.)

3. Using that construction means you put the verb before the subject, which is normally not the way we write or speak in English.

Here are examples of ways to make your sentences better.

There are your keys on the desk. 
Better: Your keys (subject) are (verb) on the desk.

There will be 500 people attending the meeting. 
Better: Five hundred people will attend the meeting.

It was disappointing that Elsa wasn’t nominated. 
Better: Elsa’s not being nominated was disappointing.

Here’s an example of wordiness. 

There were delays and cost overruns that troubled the tunnel’s builders. 
Try this: Delays and costs troubled the tunnel’s builders.

How about this one?

It was the fear of investors they wouldn’t earn profits once the tunnel opened. 
Change it to: Investors feared they wouldn’t earn profits once the tunnel opened.

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