The writing I seek to produce is one trimmed of fat. Reading bulky writing is exhausting and has a tendency to ramble. It does pay to switch up sentence length however, so don’t misunderstand me there. One issue that irritates me is the word “that”. Let’s look at the first sentence of this paragraph: “The writing I seek to produce is one trimmed of fat”. In the process of writing an article talking about the qualifier “that,” I almost loaded this sentence with them. The sentence almost looked like this:
“The writing that I seek out to produce is one that is trimmed of fat.”
Doesn’t it just weigh in the brain like a corpse? There are sentences that make “that” mandatory but often the word can be omitted. Still not seeing the problem? Let’s look at it another way.
Every excess word, every way you force a qualifier into a sentence, you are further removing the reader from your meaning. Often the longer your sentence, the more garbled it becomes. “That” tacks on extra meaning to the end of a sentence. For example. “The person over there is the one that I found.” It seems like writers are trying to distance themselves from their emotions and meaning by augmenting it with something unnecessary.
Here’s the fix, and it’s simple. You don’t need to rework your sentences at all; control+F “that” and read the sentence first with and then without it. If the sentence reads coherently with it gone, then the word “that” is extraneous. Get rid of it and don’t look back.
Writing tips will officially be a part of my writing rotations in a given week. Let me know what you would like to see in terms of writing tips. I’m also looking for feedback on my weekly posts, so let me know if you have any thoughts to help me improve.