Less really is more

Lynda Ingham-Brown is senior copy editor on Woolworths TASTE, and yes, she is silently subbing you as you speak.

Good sub-editors know how to keep copy short and sharp – here are some quick tips you can use too.

Communicating efficiently often requires fewer words, not more. Get your message across succinctly and you’re halfway there.

  • Don’t say all of a sudden, rather say suddenly.
  • In order to can easily be shortened to just to. For example: In order to understand the process… simply becomes To understand the process…
  • Impact is a noun, not a verb. Don’t say: How does it impact you? Rather say: How does it affect you? And don’t confuse affect with effect, which is the noun. For example: The interest rate hike affected me badly BUT The interest rate hike had a negative effect on me.
  • Use fewer for items you can count, such as people or animals, and less for things you can’t count, such as time.
  • Using upper case letters unnecessarily does not confer importance or value; it’s just untidy and annoying. When it doubt, leave them out.

Do you have more to add? Please comment below!

Written by Lynda Ingham-Brown

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