Many writers develop their own quirks and styles over time, and it’s possible to identify their writing just by the words and phrases they use. One common style quirk is using prepositions too much, especially the word “of,” says Grammar Girl blogger Mignon Fogarty. “Overusing it can make your writing sound passive and fussy.”
Fogarty gives this example:
• Bad sentence: She is the wife of George.
• Better sentence: She is George’s wife.
The first sentence is stilted and awkward. The second is more concise and a better use of language.
Consider these other examples from PlainLanguage.gov that will make your writing more streamlined.
• Replace “on a monthly basis” with “monthly.”
• Replace “on the grounds that” with “because.”
• Replace “at this point in time” with “now.”
• Replace “a sufficient number of” with “enough.”
• Prepositions, including of, are not always wrong. It’s especially important if you are denoting something specific, such as “a cup of coffee” or “a couple of pencils.”
Two additional tips: If you can avoid it, it’s almost never a good idea to end a sentence with a preposition. Search for “of” and other words to highlight them in your document, and remove the unnecessary ones.
— Adapted from “How to Kick Your Annoying Preposition Habit,” Mignon Fogarty, QuickandDirtyTips.com.