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  • Dr. V

This...

A common word used when speaking and writing is “this.” Too often, people transfer written ways of communicating into their writing. Yet, writing is a more formal mode of communicating, so adjustments must be made.

Today's writing tip illustrates a use of “this” that is acceptable when speaking because people can often understand the context. However, as the sentence below demonstrates, when written, the use of “this” can create confusion and wordiness. Sentence: This IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT was used for participant interviews.

Edited Sentence: This TECHNIQUE was used for participant interviews.

Explanation: Evidently, the sentence(s) before this sentence help to place the use of the adjective “this” in context. However, when used as an adjective, “this” needs a noun directly behind it. Unfortunately, in the first sentence, the noun (technique) comes three words after the adjective (this). To improve the readability and conciseness of the sentence, the noun “technique” is placed immediately after the adjective “this” in the edited sentence.


When revising your documents, be sure to keep “this” right before a noun it describes when using the word as an adjective.


Cultivating writers...one tip at a time!


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