This Post Is Presented in Order
It’s funny watching the patterns that emerge in language. One we’ve seen a lot of…
It’s funny watching the patterns that emerge in language. One we’ve seen a lot of lately is the overuse of the phrase “in order.”
“She walked out the door in order to go to the mailbox.” We might just as easily, nay, more easily, say “She walked out the door to go to the mailbox.” Sometimes people add “in order” to more than one sentence in the same paragraph, and we feel our brains starting to explode.
There’s controversy these days about just how helpful Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style is, but it offers one piece of advice that we come back to over and over: Keep it simple. A subset of that dictum is: Don’t insert phrases that don’t add anything to the sentence.
This brings to mind one of the rules for Gonzaga University’s doctoral program. Students are not to use the words “ultimately,” “basically,” or “essentially” in their dissertations. According to the guidelines, that’s basically because these words are, ultimately, essentially, useless. Yes, it’s because these words are useless.
Judge Judy agrees. She often tells people on her show to leave out the word “basically” or the word “like.” “Just tell the story,” she admonishes.
We agree. If words aren’t pulling their weight, leave them out to write more concisely–not in order to write more concisely.