Saturday, March 8, 2014

Grammar Nazi Count-Down: Episode Two - Double Constructions

Nardvark's IB English teacher is always telling him he is too wordy.  To get a level 7 on an IB paper (discover how here), your writing needs to be, among other things, succinct.  That means no unnecessary words.  However, some students love to pepper their writing with fabulous joining words and phrases to make it sound more sophisticated.  This is especially problematic for those who study IELTS or TOEFL... so many words, so little paper.  

We all know transitions (become an expert on them here) are important, but when Nerdvark sees two such words in the same sentence, his lips turn blue from lack of oxygen.   This is language overkill, or "double construction."

Here's an overkill sentence: 
Because Nardvark likes condiment sandwiches, therefore his fridge is filled with various ketchups, mayonnaises, cheese spreads, jams, and sauces.

Here it is without the extra, unnecessary word:
Because Nardvark likes condiment sandwiches, his fridge is filled with various ketchups, mayonnaises, cheese spreads, jams, and sauces.

Or, keep the "therefore" and get rid of the comma splice and the "because":
Nardvark likes condiment sandwiches; therefore, his fridge is filled with various ketchups, mayonnaises, cheese spreads, jams, and sauces.

Because and therefore: two connectives with the same meaning.  Overkill!  Wordiness!  Yuck!
Nerdvark's oxygen supply dwindles when he is
bombarded with double constructions.

Please protect Nerdvark from O2 starvation.   Choose your words carefully.


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