How to Save Readers Time When Writing About Time

Apr 14, 2014

Among a reader’s considerations, time is tops these days. The average reader (or skimmer – let’s keep it real) has mere seconds a day to absorb hundreds of ads, articles, texts, tweets, and more.
Oddly, many writers waste readers’ time when writing about time itself. Consider the following redundancies:


“Each and every single week” – Sure, it’s okay to use “each and every” for emphasis. I get tired of putting the garbage out each and every week. But that phrasing is hackneyed. Plus, “each” renders “single” redundant. Go with “weekly” – or “each week” if you dare.

“On a daily basis” -Three of these four words are unnecessary. Can you guess which ones? Yep, “daily” means the same thing as “on a daily basis.” “Daily” is shorter, plus it’s an adverb. And adverbs are way cooler than prepositional phrases.

“At the seven o’clock hour” – That’s when I roll out of bed each morning. But I don’t phrase it that way when asked what time I arise. Neither does my digital alarm clock. Please, just write 7:00 a.m. It’s much easier on readers’ peepers.

“Two hours and fifty-six minutes’ worth of time” – So…how does “two hours and fifty-six minutes’ worth of time” differ from “2 hours, 56 minutes”? No clue. I save time myself by choosing the latter phrasing when describing my wait at the DMV.


“Sharp” – Placing “sharp” at the end of “meet me at some o’clock” is intended to convey a gotta-start-on-time-or-else urgency. It doesn’t, though, because it’s unnecessary – like wearing two watches on the same wrist. If you expect tardiness from your guests, simply tell them to arrive earlier. Doh.

To learn more about saving time – for your readers, that is – give us a call at 410-310-0081. (Sorry, but I can’t help you with the DMV.)

Chrissy Hoffmaster, Copywriter

IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations, LLC

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