3.11.2009

That's That

Good writing is crisp, easy-to-read, and avoids unnecessary words – and many times, the unnecessary word is “that.”

I learned this tip years ago in a writing seminar and it has served me well ever since. Whenever you write, whether it’s a news release or a letter to your local congressman, remove the word “that.” Now re-read the sentence, and see if it still makes sense. I’ll wager 75 percent of the time it does.

As naturally as I run spell check, I also run the “find” tool for the word in question, and eliminate it as much as possible. I’ve even been known to rewrite sentences so I don’t use “that.”

It’s an easy way to trim the fat from your writing. Now, if I could just figure out a trick to trim the fat from bacon …. maybe someday.

And that, folks, is a wrap.

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