Today’s Writing Tip

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Preposition phrases are one thing that get a lot of bad press. If you had the not-so-joyful experience of diagramming sentences in school, you’ll remember that they were placed below the main subject/predicate/object line. This is a graphic illustration that they are add-ons. One way to get around them in many cases is by using possessives. For example, “the pencil’s tip” vs. “the tip of the pencil.”

You’ll be surprised how often this streamlines a sentence, not only be eliminating words, but by compacting the sentence’s meaning, making it easier for the reader to digest. Often prepositional phrases are redundant, too. Give them an evil eye when you’re editing. First see what happens when you take it out entirely. If it contains important information that needs to be included, see if using the possessive form works.

You can’t get rid of them entirely, but assessing their value and then using them sparingly gives them as well as your writing as a whole more punch.