Clear and to the Point

13 May, 2009

Sentence-level editing

Filed under: editing — monado @ 13:17

I’m editing a passage and, as usual, turning sentences and words around. Now I’m going to explain why.

Here’s the original:

Commonly used classification methods are: A, B, and C.

Clean up:

  • I deleted “Commonly used” because the reader has to remember this modifier until getting to “methods.” The edit has the benefit of making the real topic of the sentence more prominent.
  • To acknowledge other methods, I changed “are” to “include.” Logic dictates that if the list is not complete the more common methods are the ones mentioned. This edit also moves the verb from passive to active.
  • I removed the colon (:), which should not be inserted between an ordinary subject and predicate.

Classification methods include A, B, and C.

Clarify meaning:

  • I added “artificial” to ensure that artificial and natural methods, which were discussed earlier in the paragraph, are contrasted and because all the methods listed are, in fact, artificial.

Artificial classification methods include A, B, and C.

Make easier to parse:

  • I unravelled the string “artificial classification methods” into “Methods of artificial classification.”  The original phrase requires the reader to hold “artificial” and “classification” in mind, then apply them to “methods” before comprehending the meaning. The second pattern lets the reader comprehend the two halves of the phrase in order.

Methods of artificial classification include A, B, and C.

The edited sentence should be easier to read and understand.

Here’s the old version:

Commonly used classification methods are 1, 2, and 3.


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