Editing Tip #114 – Avoid This Redundancy “In Order To” Keep Your Prose Healthy

021019-N-9593M-007 At sea aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Oct. 19, 2002 -- Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Thorin D. Mayba from Huntington Beach, Calif., checks the dosage for an influenza vaccine before issuing it to one of the shipÕs crew.  Lincoln and her embarked Carrier Air Wing Fourteen (CVW-14) are on a scheduled six month deployment conducting combat missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Southern Watch.  U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate Airman Philip A. McDaniel.  (RELEASED)

There are a plethora of ways we authors add extra words, phrases, and sentences that aren’t necessary to the context of our writing. Take my title for today – the first three words after the numbered editing tip say enough.

So why didn’t I leave it at that?

Advertising in an intrinsic part of selling your content. Here it makes sense for me get a bit wordy to A) self-illustrate and B) hopefully make you smile and realize there’s a ‘but’ to almost every rule 😉

I would hope that your creative prose is not constantly aiming to advertise or that all your characters are verbose and full of themselves to warrant this kind of writing style.

The general rule, of course, is to delete every instance of the phrase “In Order To” within your prose.

You don’t need it.


Sam went to see the doctor in order to get the flu shot.


Sam went to see the doctor to get the flu shot.

or even…

Sam went to the doctor for a flu shot.

The same intent is clear in each version of this sentence, but the one with fewer words is ‘tighter‘ and thus makes it easier for us to read and comprehend.

So take a moment and hop on over to your “Find & Replace” option in your word processor and see just how many times you took the liberty of saying more than you needed to 😉

Happy Editing!

Categories: Editing

Tags: , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. You are absolutely right. Explanations (the obvious one) as “I took a shower to get cleaned” 😉 should let some space to descriptive actions about the environment or the characters…
    I love to read novels where the writer “take you along a journey full with aromas and sensitive feelings”…
    But making an example, I dislike (as matter of personal taste) books where sexuality is a tool some time vulgar inside a good story… unfortunately this type of writing is the one which became best seller… even if the “in order to” is elusive and all over the pages…
    Thanks again for your interesting tip&hints
    Serenity :-)c


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