Editing: Trimming Prepositional Phrases

Editing: Trimming Prepositional Phrases


Clancy: Hi! I’m Clancy Clawson with the
University of Maryland, Baltimore Writing Center, and in this video, we’re going to talk about trimming prepositional phrases. Prepositions are tiny words like “on,” “by,”
“in,” “under,” “above,” etc., that show relationships between other parts of the
sentence. For example, in the sentence “The wand is resting on the table,” the
preposition “on” describes the location of the wand in relation to the table. “On” is
the preposition. “On the table” is the prepositional phrase. We’ve put it in
parentheses to make it easier to see. When editing, take a look at your
prepositional phrases. They’re perfectly grammatical, but if you use too many of
them, they can start to clog up your sentences. Take a look at this example. Again, we put
the prepositional phrases in parentheses [reads sentence] Phew! This sentence is full of prepositional phrases. We can get rid of a few by turning
them into other things like nouns and adjectives. First, let’s take a look at
the subject and the verb. What are they? Well, the subject is “reason” and the verb is “is.” Those aren’t very interesting so let’s find a new subject. Let’s go with “students.” So
what do the students need to do? Well we have a payment, which is one of those
vampire nouns, so we can make that into a verb, “pay.” And since the sentence is about a reason, we’ll say students “must pay.” So what
must students pay? Well, tuition. We don’t need “school,” but we should probably keep “by
the first of the month.” “That ensures”–that could be “to ensure.” We’ll keep “deposit.” We don’t need “of the money,” and we can turn “of the headmaster” into “the headmaster’s,” and use that to modify “bank account.” Ok. So let’s see what we have [reads sentence] As you can see, we’ve really trimmed this sentence down. So there you have it. Keep an eye on your prepositional
phrases. I’m Clancy Clawson. Stay tuned for more videos.

Leave a Reply