Avoiding Excess


Avoiding Excess If, as William Zinsser argues in On Writing Well, "Clutter is the disease of American writing," then complex prepositions are among the culprits. These word groups often crowd out simple prepositions, lengthening the time it takes to reach the preposition's object. Why state that the Friend Center is located "in the vicinity of" the Engineering Quadrangle when one can say it is "near" the EQuad?  Why is "prior to" superior to "before"? In The King's English: A Guide to Modern Usage, the prolific British writer Kingsley Amis takes aim at a prime offender, namely, "in excess of": "This dreadful [...]