Shun “tion”

Slow and Soft

Notice how slow and soft these “tion” words are compared to their more active counterparts:

division, dividing
multiplication, multiplying
addition, adding
revision, revising
motivation, motivating
contention, contending
summation, summary

Shunning “tion” in Practice

“tion” deadens writing

I once worked on this paragraph from one of our writers. Mentioning the state name repeatedly is for SEO purposes.

Original

“Assets and debts division is frequently a major point of contention for divorcing couples in Arkansas. As a rule, a spouse filing for a divorce must divide their marital assets and debts. If they could not reach an agreement, a Virginia court judge must determine how to divide their assets and debts”

My first try at revising:

“A major point of contention with divorcing couples in Virginia is dividing marital assets and debts. If the couple cannot agree on the matter, a Virginia court judge will decide it for them.”

Comment

My shortening helped. Opening paragraphs on the web must be quick. But I don’t like the word contention, I would much prefer contending. “tion” makes words dull and stupid. “tion” words don’t move, they aren’t active.

Second try:

“Divorcing couples in Arkansas frequently clash over dividing marital assets and debts. If the couple cannot agree on the matter amongst themselves, an Arkansas court judge will decide it for them.”

Comment

Introduced the aggressive word clash, eliminating contending or contention. Put in “amongst themselves” to be more complete. I’m bothered that the problem for the judge is not identified. There’s no need to identify the dividing debts and assets matter for the couple since the problem was described before the comma. The judge’s problem, however, is several words removed. Will naming the judge’s problem make the writing better?

Third try:

“Divorcing couples in Arkansas frequently clash over dividing marital assets and debts. The couple must agree on division amongst themselves or it will be decided for them by an Arkansas court judge.

Comment

The last words are now “Arkansas court judge.” Notice how that is a better, harder landing than “will decide it for them.”? That’s the difference between a noun and the softer verb.

Concluding remarks

This example paragraph could have been reworked endlessly, I’m sure there are better choices. This paragraph, though, was just one of a dozen or more paragraphs needing editing and revising in a 1,000 word post.

Any writing business must get copy out the door; no one suffers a writer perfecting a post over hours and hours to make something 10% better. Concentrate on the opening. Revising a thousand words means nothing if a reader doesn’t get past the first fifty.

About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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