Your 10-minute writing brush-up                      OCTOBER  2016 

About UpWORDly Mobile EXPRESS

EXPRESS pops up in email inboxes once a month to prod busy people to sharpen their language skills. It's produced by
a sweeping but unpretentious grammar, usage and plain language resource. Its creator is George Pearson, a writer and editor based in Stratford, Ontario.


Evidence has been found that William Tell and his family were avid bowlers. Unfortunately, all the Swiss league records were destroyed in a fire. Thus we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.  

Martin Regg Cohn, in a recent Toronto Star column, referred to Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown as "the politician whom polls suggest is predestined to be the province's next premier."
The pronoun should be who (subject of the verb is).

Trim the fat from your writing
As you are writing a first draft, you should be more concerned with ideas than perfection in style or mechanics. Let the thoughts flow, even to the point of using words or phrases that are incomplete or that you know you will want to improve upon.
Then, as you edit, you can be more critical. Could you say something more directly? Cut all unnecessary words, phrases and even sentences. Substitute shorter words for longer ones.
For editing practice, simplify the following sentences:
(a) Shaun offered an explanation of the recently effected travel expense rules.
(b) Subsequent to the time that we held our conversation regarding the objectives of the company, I calculated that we needed somewhere in the neighbourhood of twenty-five million dollars in order to have the ability to compete with ABCD.
(c) We are optimistic that the work can be accomplished in a timely manner owing to the fact that we have put in place some new equipment to replace the old equipment.
(d) Due to the fact that Smedley arrived long after the meeting began, we found ourselves in a situation where we had to schedule an additional meeting later in that same day.
(e) In the event that the main gate fails to function properly, utilize the small gate which is located approximately 100 feet to the west.
Click here for some suggested rewrites of these sentences.

What colour is "flesh"?
EXPRESS subscriber Susan Bloch-Nevitte took exception to a Canadian Press reference to "flesh-coloured underwear" in a story that appeared in the Toronto Star in a story about Dalhousie faculty members' behaviour at homecoming.
"Referring to 'flesh-coloured' suggests that white skin is the colour standard of 'flesh,'" she wrote in a letter to CP, adding that "beige underwear that created the illusion of nudity" would be more suitable. A CP editor agreed, called it "an important point" and changed the story to "undressed down to beige underwear."

A few years ago, the Daily Mail reported that Venus Williams caused a stir at the Australian Open tennis tournament with her "flesh-coloured underwear," which seemed to show much more of her than was actually the case.
Williams, who is African-American, designed the outfit, which also featured a skin-coloured deep V-neck panel. "The whole idea is just about the illusion that I'm wearing a deep V-neck. Then the idea was to wear shorts that were like the same colour as my skin. It works very well, apparently."
So what colour is "flesh colour"?
Please write to me if you have comments about anything covered in this edition of UpWORDly Mobile EXPRESS or comments about language use you'd like to share with EXPRESS readers.
George Pearson