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GRAMMAR GURU

Potpourri
Let's turn your attention to the following. Each, by itself, won't fill a column but, thrown together, they should saturate this one:

1. Instead of "inside of," say "inside": He put all his eggs inside the basket, and when they got crushed, he rued the day. You can say inside of a week, a year, etc. Inside of a week, he was fully recovered and got some more eggs. And you can do the same with outside: She put all her eggs outside the hen house. Outside of a few hens, there were no complainers.

2. Instead of "all of the," you can often say all the: All the participants had beards. Since they were competing in a shaving contest, that was to be expected.

3. Instead of "he was a man who" or "she was a woman who," drop the "was a man or woman who": He preferred french fries to grits. She preferred solid abs to a deep-fried gut. Unless you're talking about llamas or flamingoes, we figure "he" is a man and "she" is not.

4. Instead of "as per," just say "per": "Per your instructions, I have filled out forms A31 to C97 and am ready for a rubber room. Yours, Sincerely Distressed."

5. Finally, since we're trying to rid the planet of wordiness, when you're writing, ask yourself, "Have I used the fewest words possible?": "The person who owned and tilled the land is no longer living there" can be reduced to "The farmer moved." So please forward his mail.

Visit Ellie Grossman at www.thegrammarguru.com.