Is it just me or does the use of the word can make sentences weaker?
The longer I edit blog posts for OpenShift.com and the more I read about tight writing and good content the more I see patterns of sentences that could be stronger.
Recently saw the word “can” and it went something like, “By running the Super Duper Big Hulabalooper you can make your business more efficient.”
I think can makes this setence weaker than it needs to be. It comes across like, “it might” or “it ‘can’ but then again it might not.” Who wants something like that?
Every time I see a sentence starting with “By” I know it’s going to be a weak sentence. Don’t save the punch or the benefit for the end, give it to people right away. Here’s how I would make these lead stronger.
Make your business efficient with the Super Duper Big Hulabalooper. (10 words)
Before: By running the Super Duper Big Hulabalooper you can make your business more efficient. (14 words)
Another consideration is modifiers. In this case, how great is the difference between “more efficient” and “efficient?” Or maybe there is a single word that could replace the idea of “being more efficient?”
A more obivious example could be, “He was trying very frantically not to miss his plane.” What’s the difference between “frantic” and “very frantic?” Not very much.
This could be tightened to be: “He sprinted to the gate, almost knocking me over.”
Look how many words I chopped out and look how it gets to the point.
Some people think writing is tedioius and boring. It’s a constant puzzle I enjoy solving because it makes things clearer. I love making things clearer. It’s just the way I’m wired.