Robust Verbs- Peter Bomersbach

Heroin addicts commit crimes such as breaking and entering and stealing to support their habits in the city of Vancouver. The program “free heroin for addicts” tries to save the city of Vancouver by giving the addicts free sanitary heroin in order to stay off the streets. The program won’t cure them but satisfy the need of heroin for each addict. Heroin addicts have no money due to their addiction to support their health which they then will visit the hospital. By providing free heroin, this keeps the addicts out of the hospital and police stations which in return helps unclog the unnecessary visits of addicts.

One thought on “Robust Verbs- Peter Bomersbach”

  1. First, PB, I admire much of what you’ve done here. You trimmed the fat and cut to the chase. If this is a first draft you wish you had had more time to polish, I should give you time to do so, but since it’s in Feedback Please I’ll offer advice for more effective language.

    Heroin addicts commit crimes such as breaking and entering and stealing to support their habits in the city of Vancouver.

    You can tighten the language a bit AND make sure the crimes carry the threat of violence (which stealing does not; bankers do that in offices with keystrokes).

    The program “free heroin for addicts” tries to save the city of Vancouver by giving the addicts free sanitary heroin in order to stay off the streets.

    Decide on a tense and a success rate. If the program saves, you mitigate your claim saying it “tries to save.” Eliminate “in order to” every time. It serves no purpose. The program gives the addicts heroin to keep them off the streets.

    The program won’t cure them but satisfy the need of heroin for each addict.

    The grammar of “won’t cure but satisfy” is incorrect. The “for each addict” is oddly precise.

    Heroin addicts have no money due to their addiction to support their health which they then will visit the hospital.

    Eliminate “due to” every time. It serves no purpose. Addicts have no extra cash for healthcare. “Which they then will visit” is a bit of logic without hooks.

    By providing free heroin, this keeps the addicts out of the hospital and police stations which in return helps unclog the unnecessary visits of addicts.

    Eliminate “By” openings unless A accomplishes B by doing C, in which case your sentence would be: By doing C, A accomplishes B.

    Yours doesn’t do that. It could: By providing free heroin, the city keeps addicts out of the hospital.

    —If you want to see this advice in practice, PB, let me know; I’ll model a second draft for you.
    —If you’d rather use the advice to produce your own second draft, by all means, I’d love to see it.
    —Either way, put the post back into Feedback Please when you decide.

    Reactions, please?
    Thank you.

    Like

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