When “Start” Begins to Creep into Your Writing


by Barbara McNichol
Editor of Word Trippers

Do you have a habit of frequently starting a sentence with the word “start” or “begin”? Recently, in a 5,000-word document I edited, those two words appeared 14 times, while only five were deemed necessary.

To be more direct with your writing, skip the “start” part and remember the phrase Nike made famous: Just do it!

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These examples show how you can write a stronger statement by going straight to the action verb rather than “beginning” to go for it.

Example 1: Slowly begin to approach your teammate with your idea.
Better: Slowly approach your teammate with your idea.

Example 2: Start making an agenda for the meeting.
Better: Make an agenda for the meeting.

Your Challenge

If you’ve made using “start” or “begin” a habit, question each time you do it. Ask: Is “start” or “begin” essential to the meaning of the sentence? Chances are you can glide straight to the action verb without it!

Today’s Word Tripper

Childish, childlike  When adults are “childish” they behave immaturely or foolishly; when they’re “childlike” they behave with the wonder, creativity, and innocence of a child. “Their complaints about the service sounded childish, given the overcrowded conditions at the restaurant.” “The team’s childlike approach to brainstorming gave us many creative ideas.”

When you know how to write with precision and accuracy, your professional reputation builds and your career can soar. Barbara McNichol is passionate about helping business professionals add power to their pen. To assist in this mission, she has created a word choice guide Word Trippers: The Ultimate Source for Choosing the Right Word When It Really Matters with details at www.WordTrippers.com.

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