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Can Simplifying Verbs Elevate Language?

Many budding scholars seek to elevate their word use when writing. An easy way to implement a scholarly tone is to replace a phrasal verb with a single verb. A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition (with, on, in, to, etc.) or an adverb (word that modifies a verb). While phrasal verbs are not grammatically incorrect, they make an academic tone difficult to achieve, as evidenced below.


Original Sentence: After completing their semi-structured interviews, the study participants will MEET UP at the community site and GO OVER the themes identified in the questionnaire.


This sentence has two phrasal verbs (“meet up” and “go over”). Notice the prepositions after the verbs make the sentence informal. Consider these questions: Is the preposition “up” needed after the verb meet? How can the phrasal verb “go over" be replaced? Read below for ways to simplify the verbs while elevating the language.


Edited Sentence: After completing their semi-structured interviews, the study participants will MEET at the community site and REVIEW the themes identified in the questionnaire.


Writing academic papers with the correct tone and language can be a challenge. Though it is easy to write how you speak, you must be willing to edit your drafts to correct grammar issues as well as improve your word choice.


Sometimes, the best way to elevate is to simplify!


Cultivating writers...one tip at a time!


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