When in doubt, cut it out: editing tips
Recently I edited a large, complex scientific report. As an editor, one of the first things you do is remove extraneous words. Why force a reader to read two or more words, when one will do?
As I worked through the report, I compiled a list of terms that I decided usually add nothing to meaning or understanding. So here is my list of words that can almost always be removed from scientific reports, with an example of each deleted so that you can read the sentence with the offending term removed:
The manufacture of cars with no reverse gear will significantly change driving habits going forward
Professor Smith is currently head of the university association
in the longer term
The manufacture of cars with no reverse gear will significantly change driving habits in the longer term
There is a need for interdisciplinary training to be provided in order to enhance Australia’s capacity
It is important to note
It is important to note that a good editor adds considerable value to a document
Australia’s market for these products is relatively small
DNA synthesis is outsourced very effectively in Australia
Acme chemicals had to completely re-engineer the synthesis pathway
Finally, just for fun:
It is very important to note that in the longer term in order to improve writing, relatively little can currently be gained from completely overlooking my excellent tips going forward.
What other terms do you suggest should be removed from documents?
Written by Paul Holper