Clarity Trumps Conciseness

Don’t let conciseness get in the way of clarity.

Often, a neat trick to pare down a sentence is to take a descriptive clause, turn it into a tidy little modifier, and tuck it in front of a noun. Say what?

LOOSE: The company, which is based in Roanoke, was founded in 1978.
TIGHT: The Roanoke-based company was founded in 1978.
[I turned the descriptive clause which is based in Roanoke into the modifier Roanoke-based and moved it in front of the noun company.]

This works often, but not always. Sometimes a descriptive clause is a descriptive clause because it does a better job at describing (get it?) a noun than a modifier would. Come again?

HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE: The mixed-gender band is known for its wild stage presence.
OHHH. NOW I SEE: The band, which features two women and three men, is known for its wild stage presence.

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