Introductory phrases and words can get in the way of what you are saying Writing & Grammar

Hello everyone:

Today’s blog shares information on introductory words phrases. What are those, you might ask? Here’s an example straight off a paper one of my students wrote recently:

In almost every workplace, there is at least one process or function that can be improved or made more efficient. In healthcare specifically, it could be finding better ways to attend to the patients faster or making sure that information is entered into their charts more accurately. However, in my office our biggest problem is our phone system. Due to our phone system being an on premises PBX phone system versus a hosted or cloud based PBX phone system, we run the risk of our patients or other healthcare professionals not being able to contact us if the power goes out. In addition, this risk is made even higher because we are located in a very ‘dated’ building which does not have a backup generator in the event of a power outage.

Every single sentence in the above paragraph begins with either an introductory word or phrase. That is a boring way to write. Please note that I used commas with all of them (the student left some of them out), which is my personal preference because doing so helps the reader keep things straighter. Here is the paragraph rewritten without any of those annoying introductions:

There is at least one process or function in almost every workplace that can be improved or made more efficient. The healthcare system, for example, could be finding better ways to attend to the patients faster or making sure that information is entered into patients’ charts more accurately. We run the risk of our patients or other healthcare professionals not being able to contact us, due to our phone system being an on-premises PBX rather than a hosted or cloud-based PBX system.  This risk is made even higher because we are located in a ‘dated” building that is without a backup generator to be used in the event of an outage.

Do you see where the introductory words and phrases went?  I moved them around, putting some in the middle and others at the end of the sentences. I happily eliminated some of them and did not harm the sentence in the least.

Please do your professor (and your writing) a favor: eliminate unneeded introductory words and phrases. After all, we need no introduction because we have already met.

Best,

Dr. Sheri


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Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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