by DANNY RUBIN
This time, we’re removing two words at once. The phrase in question is total filler and after it’s deleted, you won’t even know it’s gone. Here it is:
The words ‘in order’ may turn up in our writing for three reasons:
- we think it makes our sentence sound more professional
- we use it out of habit
- we assume the words need to be there
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The news headlines below prove our sentences makes sense — and read more smoothly — when we remove ‘in order.’ You’ll find the culprit hiding out in bold.
After we remove ‘in order,’ the headlines sound the same:
Village Voice: The Jets Get Rid of Darrelle Revis to Continue Their 40-Year Rebuilding Process
Retail Digital: Retailers Must Adapt to Serve the Digitally Connected Consumer
Bleacher Report: 3 Problems Los Angeles Kings Must Address to Peak Before Playoffs
Each headlines retains its meaning and also reads faster. I’ve written before about the importance of brevity; the fewer words we use, the stronger our writing. ‘In order’ might seem insignificant, but every second counts when we want people to read our entire message, especially online. Remember that Twitter’s new video tool, Vine, grants us only six seconds to make a point.
In a cover letter, work email or business presentation, every tick of the clock matters. That’s why ‘in order’ needs to go.
Ruth Walker at The Christian Science Monitor notes there are some instances when ‘in order’ is necessary.
For example: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”
If you’re drafting the constitution for a new nation…OK, you can use ‘in order.‘ For all other scenarios, you don’t need those two words
in order to boost your writing.
The sentence is always stronger if you leave it out.
Got a writing tip? Know of more words that need to go?
© 2013, Danny Rubin
Feature photo: Shawna Lemay (Flickr)
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© 2013, Danny Rubin