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Exercise in Eliminating Deadwood From Our Writing

A Revision and Editing Exercise

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Exercise in Eliminating Deadwood From Our Writing

As mentioned in Practice in Cutting the Clutter, what we take out of our writing can be just as important as what we put in. So here we'll practice eliminating needless words--deadwood that bores, distracts, or confuses our readers.

Your job is to trim the deadwood in these 10 sentences (all adapted from recently published textbooks). Then compare your crisper sentences with the edited versions on page two.

TIP: To view this exercise without ads, click on the printer icon near the top of the page.


  1. Emission allowances are issued every year on an annual basis.

  2. Open wells in hard-rock formations are usually rectangular in shape.

  3. A wide variety of inhaled corticosteroids are now currently available.

  4. As a facilitator, you should be noticing what is going on and making sense of it. Then you can make a decision about what to do about it.

  5. Beginning in the decade of the 1950s, NASA first initiated a program to develop and launch a series of passive satellites.

  6. A good file format will include a mechanism to allow the addition of more data later in case the need becomes necessary.

  7. The use of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) has produced benefits for many women.

  8. In 1972, President Nixon and his counterparts in Beijing took a number of important steps that would result in an improvement in relations between their respective countries.

  9. In addition, the design team must also perform an analysis of the decisions that have to be made by crew members as the mission progresses.

  10. It is possible to speculate that the reason the polymer melted was due to the fact that heat had been generated by way of internal friction within the bed.

For advice on eliminating the deadwood in your prose, see Top Five Tips to Cut the Clutter and Five More Ways to Cut the Clutter.

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