Stale beginnings lead to sticky ends

Jayne Dalmer | August 24, 2016

Excuse me while I clear my throat. And now stretch! Almost there…

Now, where was I?

Annoying isn’t it?

Writers can be just as guilty of ‘beating about the bush’ as speakers. Legal writing in particular is loaded with meaningless formulaic words at the start of sentences — a waste of time for readers and writers.

Image, A slice of stale bread.

Stale’s great for making breadcrumbs but not for starting sentences. Image by How can I recycle this / CC BY

Tired ritual beginnings get in the way of the main idea

Consider phrases like this:

The deeper you dive into the meaning of these phrases the more bottomless they become. But they’re not just an annoyance — they actually distance readers and dilute your message.

Get straight to the point

Delete these stale beginnings and start with the main idea. In longer paragraphs, summarise the content in the first sentence.

For example:

A fresh, client-focused beginning shows that you’re both professional and interested in your client.

Learn more tips for modern legal writing

Our new legal writing workshop can help freshen up your beginnings. And it has more than a few tips for middles and endings too!

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