Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
Updated 11.16.2023 by Kathy Widenhouse, award-winning content writer, website publisher, and author of 9 books.
Start a sentence with the subject. Reason? You want your writing to be easy to read.
Clean writing is easier to read than cluttered writing. And my guess is that like me, you want to make it easy for your readers to read what you write.
Your reader can get bogged down with wordy baggage at the beginning of the sentence. Do her a favor. Eliminate it or move it to later in the sentence.
Instead of writing this …
Where possible, start a sentence with the subject.
Write this instead:
Start a sentence with the subject, where possible.
The subject is the person, place, or thing that is taking action in your sentence.
When you start a sentence with the subject, the action gets going right away. When you start a sentence with words other than the subject, you gunk up the reading process. (Don’t forget that second person has a subject: “You” understood.)
As you self-edit, ask yourself this:
Are the extra words at the beginning of the sentence completely necessary in order for this sentence to be true?
Here are some of the main culprits I’ve found in my wordy baggage.
Here’s an example of what to do with those red-flag phrases in a wordy version (#1) and cleaner version (#2).
The purpose of this post is to show you how to write cleaner when you eliminate extra words at the beginning of a sentence. I believe many writers think excess words make them sound smart. Yet there is a lot to be said for looking at examples. In my opinion, an example of “before” and “after helps you see the excess baggage for yourself. At the end of the day, you may find that your writing is too wordy. Needless to say, I believe you can learn tips to write cleaner for better results.
Can you write cleaner when you eliminate extra words at the beginning of a sentence? Many writers think excess words make them sound smart. Examples of “before” and “after” show the extra word baggage. If your writing is too wordy, you can learn tips to write cleaner for better results
Cleaner? Easier to read? Keeps the meaning intact? Yep. I think so too.
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