This quiz covers some of the less obvious ways we can improve our writing at the editing stage, as outlined in ‘Editing Made Easy’.

The sentences are all grammatically correct, so please pick the ones you think are simpler or clearer.

The clues are in the subheadings, and the answers are available here.

Quiz

Use verbs instead of nouns, where possible.

1A      Using verbs instead of nouns is an important part of editing.

1B      The substitution of verbs for nouns is an important part of editing.

2A      Approval of the plans took place on Wednesday.

2B      The plans were approved on Wednesday.

3A      Council officers are talking to both parties.

3B      Council officers are in discussions with both parties.

Avoid unnecessary words.

4A      The data on freshwater …

4B      The freshwater data …

5A      One of the submitters at the hearing …

5B      One submitter at the hearing …

6A      One of the members of the team …

6B      One team member …

7A      The adviser said there had been no subdivision consent applications in the past three months.

7B      The adviser said there had been no new subdivision consent applications in the past three months.

8A      He said he would finish the report tomorrow.

8B      He said that he would finish the report tomorrow.

Write shorter sentences.

9A      Council has allocated $1 million for leak detection which will include water meters for households, in-pipe monitoring and more data analysis.

9B       Council has allocated $1 million for leak detection. This will include household water meters, in-pipe monitoring and more data analysis.

Use simple language.

10A     The works will commence in July.

10B    The works will begin in July.

11A     We are in the process of planning next year’s programmes.

11B    We are planning next year’s programme.

Avoid saying the same thing twice.

12A    The consultation will run for four weeks.

12B     The consultation will run for a four-week period.

13A     The total population of our town is 48,000.

13B    The population of our town is 48,000.

Avoid starting a sentence with ‘there are’.

14A    Thirty people are scheduled to speak at the hearing.

14B     There are 30 people scheduled to speak at the hearing.

Remember that nouns can’t see.

15A     January will see the start of a new roading programme.

15B    A new roading programme will start in January.

Answers

Here’s a link to the answers (which are shown in bold). You are welcome to contact me if you have any editing questions or if you would like editing assistance.

Editing resources