March 27, 2017

Journalistic Writing Exercises 1

I recently purchased Journalistic Writing by Robert Knight. I’m not a journalist, but I’m sure some of his lessons transfer to other areas of non-fiction writing. At the end of the first chapter, the author presents the reader with a number of sentences that contain unneeded thats, there is’s, there are’s, etc.; the goal of the exercise is to rewrite the sentences without them. Here is my attempt.

There were half a dozen vintage airplanes standing in the foreground of the museum.

Half a dozen vintage airplanes stood in the foreground of the museum.

He said that there was a 13 percent decrease in drunk-driving citations on the state’s highways, roads and streets last year, but there was a substantial increase in the number of accidents blamed on drivers’ cell phone usage.

  • The number of drunk-driving citations on the state’s highways, roads and streets decreased by 13 percent last year, but the number of accidents blamed on drivers’ cell phone usage increased substantially.
  • He said the number of drunk-driving citations on the state’s highways, roads and streets decreased by 13 percent last year, while the number of accidents due to cell phone usage increased substantially.

There was a surgeon working intently on a prone figure.

A surgeon was working intently on a prone figure.

The president said that making the country greener is part of his plan to increase jobs.

  • Making the country greener is part of the president’s plan to increase jobs.
  • The president’s plan to increase jobs includes making the country greener.

Around the world there a millions of children that are starving.

Millions of children around the world are starving.

There are three things that can happen when you drive through a yellow light, and two of them are bad.

  • Three things can happen when you drive through a yellow light, two of them are bad.
  • Two of the three things that can happen when you drive through a yellow light are bad.

The police officiers said that they had a warrant and they wanted to inspect the house for weapons and drugs, but there was a pit bull preventing them from entering the front door.

The police officers had a warrant and wanted to inspect the house for weapons and drugs, but a pit bull prevented them from entering the front door.

There was Yogi Berra who said that “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over”

Yogi Berra said: “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

She quoted her grandfather, who said that “many a damned fool went to college.”

“Many a damned fool went to college,” her grandfather used to say.

The ambassador said that she wanted to know why there were not enough limousines waiting for members of the delegation.

  • The ambassador wanted to know why there weren’t enough limousines for the members of the delegation.
  • Too few limousines were waiting for members of the delegation and the ambassador wanted to know why.