Engaging the reader in fewer words

An excellent summation of one major role editing plays — keeping the reader from drifting off, or worse, getting sick of the entire product.
Fewer words is not a slash-and-burn technique but a prioritization. One excess that’s not noted in the item is “in order to.” In nearly all cases, it can be “to.”

One note: The advice is not just for print. There’s a space limit in print, unlike online, but the reader’s limit of patience is far less. Also, we’re not talking about the destruction of great prose — this is directed at basic writing, intended to communicate something to people. If we can’t edit the straightforward into something precise, concise and helpful, we certainly can’t write anything more ambitious.

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