In this new series, we are exploring the world of adjectives. In part one, we started with a few general rules. Part two covered eliminating ambiguities. Today, avoiding the adjective pileup.
Fashionistas know fashion accessories should provide balance to your look. Seventeen Magazine advises: “When wearing a statement necklace, don’t wear big chandelier earrings. Instead, pair it with simple studs … It’s all about an even balance to get a polished look.”
Adjectives do much the same for your sentence. You need to balance them for a polished sentence. Three or more adjectives in a row, known as an adjective pileup, weigh down the sentence. The writing seems overdone and comprehension is slowed to a halt. The reader has to take more time to form a picture of your noun; she now has to juggle to add many details at once, instead of a few at a time:
New, in-depth, and actionable insights drive maximum performance.
The fix? Move your ideas around in the sentence:
New insights are in-depth and actionable, driving maximum performance.
In-depth, actionable insights drive maximum performance.
For more writing tips, follow me on Twitter @ebrenner or check out The Writing Resource.