Check for repetition and cut back on subordinate clauses – they’re simple fixes but they can make a big difference to your writing.
The English language is wonderful. It gives us plenty of different ways to say the same thing. So don’t fall into the same trap as this writer:
I established the firm in 2010 and I have over 17 years post qualified experience. With a small team of three that includes two experienced employees, I have a team quallified to a high standard.
Two words repeated in two short sentences: it’s not good. Even if this were for a website, which it isn’t, this would not be good practice. Repeating key words is important for search engines when writing for the web, but you’ve always got make sure it doesn’t interfere with readability.
So, make time to go back over what you have written and check to see how many times you have repeated the same word.
Try to avoid starting too many sentences with subordinate clauses. It sends a subliminal message to the reader that they will have to wait to get to the interesting part of what you are telling them. And that is never a good idea.
Having founded Apple Computer in the 1970s, Steve Jobs went on to build it into the world’s largest company before his death in 2011.
This sentence is much more effective without the subordinate clause (Having founded Apple Computer in the 1970s).
Steve Jobs built Apple Computer into the world’s largest company between founding it in the 1970s and his death in 2011.
One of the keys to effective writing is getting your best material first, whether it’s in a sentence, a paragraph, or a document, so weed out those subordinate clauses!
For more tips to improve your writing, see our new e-learning course on Effective writing.