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  • Dr. V

The Correct Word(s)

Most writers strive to be concise in their documents, which means seeking to express ideas clearly and comprehensively without the extraneous use of words. However, phrases people often use when speaking have a way of creeping into their writing. When writers are diligent to revise documents, they can identify and eliminate unnecessary words; see the sentences below for an example.

Sentence: A challenge to application is WHETHER OR NOT the available methods and features used in the study can be scaled to meet industry demand.


Edited Sentence: A challenge to application is WHETHER the available methods and features used in the study can be scaled to meet industry demand.


Explanation: The original sentence includes the phrase “whether or not,” which is a term often used in conversation. Yet, by function and definition, whether refers to “alternative conditions or possibilities” (Merriam-Webster). Therefore, the words “or not” are not necessary, and the edited sentence does not include them. Notice the deletion does not alter the meaning or ability to understand the main point of the sentence.


When editing documents, writers should make that they have efficiently used words and phrases.

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