How to Avoid Awkward Phrasing When Writing

Awkward sentences slow down a reader when they are reading an article, essay, work of fiction or even a business document. When you are done crafting a piece of writing, spend some time editing to eliminate awkward phrasing. You will stress your point across more clearly and impress your reader.

Step 1

Write a first draft of your piece, and read it aloud. If you stumble over phrasing or have a difficult time conveying your point because of too many commas, rework those sentences.

Step 2

Eliminate unnecessary words from each sentence. Look for words such as "it," "they," "by" and "this" that can be taken out.

Do not use phrases such as, "the fact of the matter is" or "all things considered." Take out words like "just," "quite" and "perhaps."

Scan your document with your red pen, searching for any word or phrase that does not need to be in the sentence.

Step 3

Eliminate run-on and long sentences. If you are expressing a lot of information in one sentence, it becomes confusing.

See if you can eliminate "which" clauses. For example: Shannon went to Chicago, which was her hometown, in order to go to her class reunion. Instead: Shannon went to her hometown of Chicago to attend her class reunion.

Step 4

Use your word program's grammar check. Although it isn't always right, it will point out sentences that are wordy, confusing or grammatically incorrect. Reread the sentence, and see if there is a way you can write it better and more concisely.

Read Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" to hone your writing skills.


Have a well-read friend read and edit your writing.