Quick Editing Tip: Chop Out Unnecessary Words

There are lots of places we, as writers, use unnecessary words, but here are a few common phrases we can get in the habit of hacking:

  • in order to   ->  can always be “to”
  • located in   ->   can always be “in”
  • located at  ->  can always be “at”
  • 7 different types  ->  can always be “7 types” (the reader typically assumes multiples are different)
  • panoramic view   ->  can always be “panorama”
  • close proximity   ->  can always be “proximity”

 Happy Tuesday!

Editor-Tip Tuesday: Complement vs. Compliment

Have I mentioned that I’m an editor for a living? I thought I’d share a few editing tips from time to time. They’ll just be quick, simple hits – things you can commit to memory if you want, or things you can just throw out the window if you prefer.

Here’s one that seems to slip by a lot of people:


These have different meanings.

Complement (with an “e”) has a connotation of completing (I remember this one as “compleeeeeting” so I’ll spell it with an “e”):

  • The throw pillows complement the living room.
  • His tie complements his suit.
  • The husband and wife have complementary careers.

 Compliment (with an “i”) denotes praise, and always comes from a human being:

  • She was flattered by Jim’s compliment.
  • Someone complimented him on his tie.

 The one that means “free” is also the “i”: Throw in some complimentary tickets and I’ll be there!

Happy Tuesday!

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