An egregious example of circumlocution
In the Washington Times, an article about combat training quotes Congresswoman Niki Tsongas:
“To put in place a training regimen that is ill-suited to maximizing the success of women is not really the outcome any of us want to see.”This obese sentence is a circumlocution built up of several circumlocutions. We can replace this obese sentence with a trim, clear sentence by replacing the component circumlocutions with straightforward English. Here we go:
Let’s replace “to put in place” with nothing.
Let’s replace “a training regimen” with “training.”
Let’s replace “that is ill-suited to maximizing the success of women” with “that helps women excel.” This replacement also converts a negative to a positive.
Let’s replace “is not really the outcome any of us want to see” with “we want.” This replacement also converts a negative to a positive.
And we end up with this:
“We want training that helps women excel.”Original: 27 words
My Rewrite: 7 words
Reduction: 74 percent
Making this kind of improvement takes little time; my rewrite took me only 40 seconds.
The Takeaway: The more you rely on circumlocution, the flabbier your brain gets. Use circumlocutions sparingly if at all.