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Friday, July 25, 2008

Criminal Sentence 63: Give "the Ability" a Rest

From something I edited:

"The software gives parents the ability to support teacher efforts."

Another similar sentence (I made it up):

"I have the ability to burst into flight if I wear this magic cape."

These sentences are perfectly correct, but I hate them nevertheless. Mostly because they are wordy. Here are more concise versions:

"The software allows parents to support teacher efforts."

"I can burst into flight if I wear this magic cape."

I recommend avoiding "the ability." It is a nominalization and leads to wordy sentences.

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