Agriculture Communication


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Write the Right Word: Past and Future

With everyone’s attention span geared toward the 30-second sound bite, we need to keep our writing as concise as possible. One way to do that is to get rid of unnecessary words. Redundancies are a good example.

“Past” and “future” are some of the most common redundant words. You’ve most likely seen or even used phrases such as “future plans,” “past history” or “past experience.”

If you have or are making plans, they are for the future, so you don’t need to state the obvious. A simple, “My plan is to attend NDSU” is sufficient. If necessary, you can modify “plan” with words such as “immediate” or “long-term,” or perhaps a date, to indicate a time frame. For example: “My long-term plan is to attend NDSU.” Or this: “I plan to attend NDSU in 2018.”

“History” and “experience” already have happened, so they are in the past. Again, you don’t need to state the obvious. “My experience leads me to believe this experiment will fail.” “This weed’s growth history indicates it will be about 6 inches tall by August.”

Ellen Crawford, Information Specialist, (701) 231-5391

Filed under: Written Communication
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