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Start a Sentence with the Subject to Simplifyy Your Writing

Start a sentence with the subject. Reason? You want your writing to be easy to read. 

Start a sentence with the subject and eliminate red flag phrases. With Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter

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.

What Should I Do with Those Extra Words? 

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?

  • If you answer no: eliminate the extra words. Ditch the modifiers and qualifiers. Readers have enough distractions.
  • If you answer yes: put first things first whenever you can. Sure, you must occasionally include extra words for clarification. Can you move the extra words from the beginning of the sentence to the middle or to the end? Try it. 

Red-Flag Phrases to Eliminate or Move

Here are some of the main culprits I’ve found in my wordy baggage.

It is important [significant, crucial, key] … According to…
There is a … In my opinion …
The purpose of this [article, post, report …] I believe [think] …
The fact that … Needless to say …
In terms of … In order to …
All of the … At the end of the day …
You may find that … After all …

Here’s an example of what to do with those red-flag phrases in a wordy version (#1) and cleaner version (#2).

#1. Wordy Version: 94 words, 15.6 words per sentence

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.

#2. Cleaner Version: 50 words, 12.5 words per sentence

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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