Tag Archive - Circumlocution

Don’t Be in Error of Circumlocution

Here’s a simple way to tighten up your writing: look for phrases using be in your passages.

Verb phrases using be can often be simplified or better said with a simple verb. Here are some circumlocutory uses of be words that are common and create clunky writing, followed by the suggested replacement verb:

  • Be abusive of (abuse)
  • Be benefited by (benefit from)
  • Be desirous of (desire or want)
  • Be in agreement (agree)
  • Be in error (err)
  • Be in possession of (possess)
  • Be in receipt of (received)
  • Be supportive of (support)

It’s much simpler and smoother to say “We desire a change in the schedule, and if you would support us, you’ll receive a lot of praise” than “We would be desirous of a change in the schedule, and if you would be supportive of that, you’ll be in receipt of much praise.”

Now if we can be in agreement that the former sentence is better than the latter, we might be benefited by it.

I hope you didn’t like that last sentence either.