Here’s this week’s Monday’s Mistake, a chance to learn how to avoid mistakes and strengthen your business writing through mini pop quizzes…

I found this week’s example in a print magazine. Does anything about the sentence read or sound off to you?

It is grammatically correct, so it’s not as if it has a mistake in it, but it does have an extra word that adds clutter. Do you see it?

The word is “lengthier.” The writer already said the war was short-lived, so obviously the other conflicts were longer. That makes the word “lengthier” unnecessary and clutter.  

In my opinion, it reads better as:

“The war, though short-lived compared to other conflicts in our history, still has profound impacts on the men and women who served.”

Leaving out the clutter word also removes two commas, to tighten up the sentence even more.

Any time we can remove a word to tighten our business writing, we should!

Sharon Ernst is a retired freelance copywriter now on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes.