People have may have many reasons for rewriting a sentence, but most likely, it too long has repetitive wording, or sound clumsy. But it is important not to change the meaning. However, the issue can be especially important in a non-fiction book. If you have ever been stuck in this situation, please see the following article to better paraphrase a sentence and not change the meaning.
- Use Solid Synonyms
A simple way to reword a sentence is to locate weak or overused words. As an example; replacing better synonyms. You can accomplish this task by using more interesting words.
One tool that writers should never go without is a thesaurus or writing aid. Almost any grammar checker will do the trick, my favorite is ProWriting Aid.
Excellent, satisfactory, pleasant
Inferior, poor, deficient
Compelling, thought-provoking, riveting
Portray, illustrate, demonstrate
Apply, utilize, employ
Restore, revitalize, repair
Tip: Use a dictionary to understand the meaning before trying new words to enhance a sentence. A novice mistake is to use sophisticated words and not know the correct meaning.
2. Remove unnecessary words
A common issue with many writers is using too many words to explain a concept. As an example, “wide variety of”. Some of the best sentences are short and direct. It means, cut out redundant words. (different words that mean the same things) A thesaurus is the best tool.
UNNECESSARY WORDS EXAMPLES
Redundant words merge together, free gift, short summary
Filler words just, basically, really, perhaps
Qualifiers may, often, possibly, probably
In the case, you are, however, writing an email be mindful of the shortness. The last thing you want is to come off curt. A solution is applying a friendly tone, like using ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ ‘Good day,” ‘how are you,’ or ‘I look forward to communicating in the future.’ The last you want is to come across as rude
3. Change Passive to Active Voice
A passive voice refers to the subject of a sentence that receives the verb action. If too much passive voice is used, it can sound discouraging, particularly among those writing marketing copy. It makes the writing sound wordy and more difficult to read.
A simple way to address the problem is editing the sentence, turning passive voice into active voice. The subject will perform the action instead of receiving it.
Passive Voice: The book was written by Tanja.
Active Voice: Tanja wrote the book.
Passive Voice: A new “Playlists” feature is being launched by Spotify today.
Active Voice: Spotify is launching a new “Playlists” feature today.
Poof! As you can see, the active sentences are simple but more effective.
4. Split Up Long Sentences
When a sentence is wordy, you will most likely lose the reader’s attention. A sentence that is 30 words or more is too long. According to Oxford Guide to Plain English, the best sentence length is 15 to 20 words. Therefore, a shorter sentence is simpler, but maintaining the meaning is very important. So, in this case, you need a longer sentence to make sure it’s easy to read and flows well.
Another way to rewrite and not lose the original meaning is scanning for long sentences. Then the options would be to eliminate unnecessary, commas or conjunctions and replace them with a period.
Long-sentence examples below:
Original: The Bose Wave is the best portable speaker on the market, because it has a cylindrical shape, which delivers a balanced 360-degree sound, and it is also completely waterproof, which means you can take it anywhere outdoors.
New: The Bose Wave is the best portable speaker on the market. Its cylindrical shape delivers a balanced 360-degree sound. It is also completely waterproof, so you can take it anywhere outdoors.
5. Use A Paraphrasing Tool
If you are thinking, paraphrasing, all this stuff takes forever. Nevertheless, editing properly does take time, but it is the only way to truly perfect your writing.
Paraphrasing can do all sorts of things, like reduce word count, improve vocabulary, and convert a phrase from passive to active voice.
Commonly confused words (and how to get them right)
The English language contains hundreds of homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) or oronyms (phrases that sound similar) in their writing. One of my favorite grammar tools is Pro-Writing Aid; the program points out misused words to help improve writing styles. Just remember to proofread before you publish (telegram) anything important.
Below are the most frequently confused homophones, and how to tell them apart.
- It’s and its
“It’s” is a contraction of the phrase “it is”, while “its” is a determiner used to show that one thing is associated with something else. For example:
- It’s my birthday today.
- The dog chased its tail.
The simplest way to figure out which one to use is by replacing the word with “it is”. If your sentence still makes sense, “it’s” is probably the correct term.
- Every day and everyday
They may look similar, but you can’t use these terms interchangeably. The singular “everyday” is an adjective used to indicate that something is ordinary or familiar.
- Working from home is now a part of everyday life.
In contrast, the phrase “every day” is another way of saying “each day”. It indicates something occurs daily.
- Sally goes to the gym every day
3. To, too, and two
Ironically, these homophones can be spelled three different ways. “Two” is the easiest one to remember, as it refers to the number. If you’re writing for work, check your company’s style guide to see if you should be using the word or the numeral.
- Nick owns two laptops: one for work and one for gaming.
- Two days ago, I received a postcard from my parents.
“Too,” can mean “additionally” or “more than what is needed or wanted.”
- Can I come to Disneyland too?
- It was too hot to go outside today.
You’ll probably use the word “to” the most, as it has several everyday applications. As a preposition, it can modify a verb or noun to show direction. It can also be used to indicate an infinitive verb form.
- It’s a long way to the shops if you want a sausage roll.
Sammy likes to play video games after work
6. They’re, their, and there
While they may sound the same, these three words have very different meanings and spellings. “They’re” is a contraction of the phrase “they are”.
- They’re moving to London together.
“Their” is a possessive pronoun, and shows that something belongs to someone or a group.
- The children haven’t finished their homework yet.
“There” is the opposite of the word ‘here’ and generally means in or at a place.
- The condiments are stored over there.
7. Than and then
Rounding up the top five, we have “than” and “then”. The first word is a conjunction used to compare things:
- Natasha scored more goals than her sister.
- The cake was sweeter than I expected.
“Then” is generally used concerning time:
- Back then, we didn’t have to wear a mask on the bus.
- If I eat my vegetables, then I can have dessert.
As a writer, editing is commonly misunderstood, or considered unnecessary. However, it is impossible to perfect your content without rereading what has been written. It is usually necessary to edit a piece of work multiple times to gain a fluid concept in the project.