Using English Prepositions – Lesson 9: Concise Sentences – Part 2

Using English Prepositions – Lesson 9: Concise Sentences – Part 2


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!

33 Comments

  • Korosh mafi

    December 18, 2015

    I wish you and your family have nice Merry Christmas and happy new Year.

    Reply
  • Yngwaa Jaa

    December 18, 2015

    It's quite difficult for me, I'm trying and keep going. Thank you so much.

    Reply
  • shakti051

    December 18, 2015

    Mam,
    I understood both the lessons.Your teaching style really creates desire of learning.
    U R very from us, but when we take your lesson , feeling U before us & very near. It's GODs grace that we got the best teacher like U.

    Our blessings & wishes R always with U.
    Have a Great Day………….
    Thanks………………. Hope to see U soon.
    Good Bye………………………………………………………Loving U……………………

    Reply
  • stunninglad1

    December 18, 2015

    I had this answer for the fourth question: 'The school's holiday party invitations were emailed to students over a week ago.'
    A good lesson, Jennifer. I find it's the word 'that' that we can do without in many sentence scenarios, but not in that one. He-he!

    Reply
  • Abe Thomas

    December 18, 2015

    Dear teacher,
    Thank you so much for all the fantastic lessons. Wish you and your family merry Christmas and
    Happy Holiday and happy new year.

    Reply
  • Adam Ayoub

    December 18, 2015

    merci mon maitresse

    Reply
  • Abdullah

    December 18, 2015

    I've a problem with the present perfect I couldn't understand the rule. I tried a lot but there is no benefit. Can you help me or anybody here 😔

    Reply
  • Adam Ayoub

    December 19, 2015

    j' espere que tu fait les cours sur hangout ou skype si possible….merci beaucoup

    Reply
  • Knightsudd's Cave

    December 19, 2015

    The lesson is great. I guess I need to improve my vocabulary and logic 🙂 that to use this lesson, and I'll certainly rewatch it later. Best wishes for the coming holiday, Jennifer!

    Reply
  • Magda Oliveira

    December 20, 2015

    Just wanted to thank you and wish a wondeful Christmas and New Years.

    Reply
  • Flávia Helena

    December 21, 2015

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for you and your family! 🙂

    Reply
  • Harry Potter

    December 21, 2015

    Hi Jennifer. I found this part pretty hard to learn, also because I think it's quite subjective how one modifies a sentence or makes it more concise. At any rate, not being a native speaker, I know that language structures are very different according to the countries. I feel a bit depressed (jk) but I'd like to wish you and your family a Merry Xmas! 🙂

    Reply
  • aklimich

    December 23, 2015

    I like prepositional phrases because they make any text more understandable ) Conversely, the use of concise sentences forces me to think more to see the same information. Easy to use, hard to understand ) Well, maybe it's individually.

    Reply
  • Đức Vũ

    December 24, 2015

    Hi Jennifer! I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
    I have a question and I would like you to answer it!
    I wonder whether " to have a bone in one's last legs" is a significant construction. And if it has a particular meaning, what does it mean?
    Thank you so much!

    Reply
  • AstronoyBrasil

    December 24, 2015

    From Brazil From Marcio

    Hello Dear Teacher… Hope you well.
    I dropped in to wish you Merry Christmas.
    May God bless you and all your family.
    Big kiss, Angel.

    Reply
  • maria mimi

    December 24, 2015

    Thank you so much #jennifer we studied this lesson in the classroom and now I understand it very well just I need some repetition that's all 🙂

    Reply
  • Ahmed Ab

    December 24, 2015

    thanks jnevier

    Reply
  • Firas Taher

    December 25, 2015

    The exercises are tricky because you are changing the subjects.

    Reply
  • salma salma

    December 26, 2015

    Happy new year thank you

    Reply
  • svik

    December 28, 2015

    Hello, good at speaking Russian, you can take lessons, So keep !!!

    Reply
  • triển vũ

    December 30, 2015

    hi teacher! I was very impressed about your video and I love you 🙂

    Reply
  • Gulit Chunari

    December 30, 2015

    I wish you and your own family a very Merry Christmas and happy new Year…thanks

    Reply
  • Justin Lai

    January 11, 2016

    Hi Jennifer, thanks for your sharing. Can I get your website about improve my Accent?

    Reply
  • Hello SUN

    January 12, 2016

    I wonder the pronunciation of 'cane' is 'can-n' or 'king-in' because the pronunciation from dictionary is 'king-n', not 'can-n' either in BrE or AmE dictionary.

    Reply
  • Guangyue Lu

    March 14, 2016

    I really like these excellent lectures!!! Thank you!!!

    Reply
  • Надежда Нестереня

    March 26, 2016

    Hi, Jennifer! Thank you so much! This lesson is excellent as always! I've been trying to catch more from your lessons every time. You're doing really great work! Best regards!

    Reply
  • Rahmita Dahir

    August 4, 2016

    Hhhhh thank you from tell me that

    Reply
  • THO VU

    September 7, 2016

    i really love your lesson, it helps me so much about grammer.

    Reply
  • Apeksha Sanga

    September 8, 2016

    hi Jennifer….
    this is Apeksha….i have seen some of u r lessons….its very helpful to me…

    Reply
  • Apeksha Sanga

    September 8, 2016

    but i had a problem Jennifer…

    Reply
  • esraa ahmad

    April 1, 2017

    My essays topic will be new yearss celebrations around the world.is it possible.sorry I dont have apostrophe in my keyboard

    Reply
  • Pedro Paco

    February 20, 2018

    This channel is one of the best I've seen although mr Skype lessons is good too

    Reply
  • Mussie Aredo

    August 2, 2019

    Your really teaching me what I have been suffering with. Thanks a lot

    Reply
  • Jing Dong

    February 25, 2020

    Teacher Jennifer, can we use IN instead of WITH in the sentence Ornaments with Different Colors at time 2:47?

    Reply

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