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Improve writing by ‘unsmothering’ verbs

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Are you “smothering” perfectly good verbs?

Here’s an example: You turn “decide” into a noun, making it “decision.” Then you need to use “decision” as a verb, so you write, “make a decision”—forgetting that you could simply use “decide.”

That may not sound like a horrible grammatical offense. But stringing these smothered verbs together can make your writing more cumbersome and wordy.

Smothered verb example: “The committee held a meeting on Friday to make a decision about how it would provide advice to the board.”

Better: “The committee met on Friday to decide how to advise the board.”

Look out for these smothered-verb endings. If you see them, rewrite to simplify your text:











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