Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 7 Tips to Write Great Essays - January 5, 2018
- How to Eliminate Abstract Nouns - January 3, 2018
- 3 Important Differences Between Academic versus Technical Writing - January 1, 2018
© Ugur Akinci
If there is another noun as abused and expended carelessly as “activity” I wouldn’t know.
Ninety percent of the time, the noun “activity” is redundant. It’s there like deadwood. If you throw it out, none would be any wiser. Nobody would miss it and your sentences would be leaner and easier to understand.
Here are some examples:
“Neighbors called 911 to report fire activity.” Sorry. The neighbors called in just to report a “fire” and by definition a fire is always active, never inactive.
“There is police activity on the side of the road.” What’s wrong with just saying “There are police officers on the side of the road, investigating the suspects.”
I just made a quick search on Google News and here are some gems that I came up with.
“The Senate passed a law banning mining activity.” What the heck is a “mining activity”? I guess the “Senate passed a law banning mining” and that’s all the Senate did.
“Eurozone business activity improves.” TRANSLATION: “Eurozone business improves.”
“Hayward schools to sponsor activity fair January 31.” TRANSLATION: “Hayward schools to sponsor a fair January 31.”
“Texas economic activity again reaches four-year high.” TRANSLATION: “Texas economic indicators again reach four-year high.”
“India asks Israel to end its settlement activity.” TRANSLATION: “India asks Israel to stop building settlements.”
“China factory activity improves further in January.” TRANSLATION: “Chinese manufacturing improves further in January.”
“Mexico’s Economic Activity Rises More Than Expected in November.” TRANSLATION: ““Mexican Economic Indicators Rise More Than Expected in November.” OR: “Mexican Economy Improves More Than Expected in November.”
“London Stock Exchange hails pick-up in trading activity.” TRANSLATION: “London Stock Exchange hails pick-up in trading.”
“Volcano activity reported.” TRANSLATION: “Volcano erupted.”
Using activity is usually a bad choice that leads to bad writing and obfuscation. Eliminate it from your writing whenever you can.
(Public domain photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)