I love to drink apple cider during the winter holidays. But which of these two glasses would be easier to pick up? The one on the left. Don’t you agree? Why? Because the other one is too full. There’s just too much, so it’s not easy to handle. Here’s something else I love about the December holidays. Candy canes! I like to put them on the tree. Now which picture shows a better decorating job? I hope you agree. It’s this one on the right. Do you know why? Because less is more – whether we’re talking about candy canes on a tree or prepositions in a sentence, sometimes you can have too much of something. Understanding how prepositions work in a sentence helps you build clear, concise sentences. “Concise” means using few words. The idea is not to use words you don’t really need. Otherwise, it becomes confusing for your listener or your reader. Here are three tips on being concise. Look at this example. Could we change this adjective clause to a prepositional phrase? Sure. Let’s use IN. How about this sentence? If we remove these two words, What one preposition can we use? With. Here’s the second tip. Let’s consider phrases with OF. OF can show possession. So “the role of the host” could be “the host’s role.” How about this one? What would you do to shorten this? Let’s remove a number of words and just use the gerund “kissing.” Now we can make “New Year’s Eve” a modifier. It can describe tradition, so… Some prepositional phrases of time can be shortened. For example: We made “New Year’s Eve” a modifier. “At the present time” can be replaced with single words. And instead of “at all times” we can simply say “always.” When possible, use noun modifiers and avoid prepositional phrases. Single word adverbs are also a good alternative to longer prepositional phrases. For example: Third tip. Too much of anything is no good, so… Having two together is okay. Three may be possible, but that’s already getting wordy. So try to avoid using too many prepositions, and in general use words that are clear and necessary. Look at these examples. That’s not too bad, but there are alternatives. You could say: First of all, we have three uses of IN. Then we have OF two times as well as ON. Having two or more of the same preposition in a sentence can really sound wordy. How would you rewrite this snetence to make it more concise? Here are two suggestions. Let’s try an exercise. I’ll show you a wordy sentence. You think of a way to make it more concise. In this exercise, I’ll show you five sentences. Again, you need to rewrite each one to make it more concise. (More than one answer is possible.) (Tip: Use a more active verb than BE.) My suggestion: Instead we could say: How about this? (Tip: Use “email” as an active verb.) We might shorten that to: (Tip: Make an adjective for food “without nuts.”) A more concise sentence would be: That’s all for now. Thanks for watching. Enjoy the holidays and all the celebrations. Happy studies!