Intensifiers don’t

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Intensifiers — the adverbs and adjectives that writers include to add force to their expression — don’t have the effect that some imagine they might.

Take these two examples:

  1. Dave is a trustworthy employee.
  2. Dave is a really trustworthy employee.

In which of these examples might a reader be left wondering if Dave will be pocketing staplers on the way out the door?

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Cut “is”

This is a writing problem that is easy to correct. (10 words)

This writing problem is easy to correct. (7 words)

When editing your draft, search for the word “is.” In the two sentences above, searching for “is” and rephrasing the sentence enabled the writer to cut 30% of the original word count without losing any of the original sentence’s meaning.

Short Tip: Use the “find” function in your word processor (Ctrl+F) to search for the words “is,” “was,” “are,” and “were.” These words are symptoms of wordiness.

Here’s how and why you should cut “is” as much as possible:

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