If you doubt it, try cutting down any broadsheet copy into Sun-speak and see how difficult it is to tell a pacy, succinct story within a few pars.
On the R4 Word of Mouth programme, The Sun’s managing editor Graham Dudman and various subs show that subbing is not just about correcting grammar. It’s also about making “copy sparkle” and not wasting words.
Deleting waffle is one of the first lessons that trainee subs learn. Aim for the bare minimum and you can squeeze in as much information as possible into a set space. If I delete ‘that’ in the first line of this par, for example, the sentence still makes sense without it. That’s if the sentence is needed at all.
So, without further ado, let’s cut to the chase. Here are my top 10 favourite waffles to edit out or replace:
- Going to go – going
- Utilisation of – use
- In order to – to
- Without further ado – delete
- Cut back – cut
- Currently – often unnecessary if it’s obviously in the present
- First and foremost – use one
- On a daily basis – every day
- Despite the fact – although
- In conjunction with – with
And it goes without saying, that cliches like ‘let’s cut to the chase’ should always be edited out.
Does anyone have any other cut-worthy waffle to add to the list?
- How Sun subs create ‘peerless prose’ (guardian.co.uk)