1 min

Paramedic Method - Writing Concisely


Use the Paramedic Method (originally developed by Richard Lanham in Revising Prose) to edit any kind of professional writing. Editing your professional writing using the Paramedic Method will make your prose easier to read. Sentences that are easy to read are more persuasive and more user-centered.


The Paramedic Method

  1. Circle the prepositions (of, in, about, for, onto, into)
  2. Draw a box around the "is" verb forms
  3. Ask, "Where's the action?"
  4. Change the "action" into a simple verb
  5. Move the doer into the subject (Who's kicking whom)
  6. Eliminate any unnecessary slow wind-ups
  7. Eliminate any redundancies.


1a. Circle the Prepositions. Too many prepositions can drain all the action out of a sentence. Get rid of the prepositions, and find a strong active verb to make the sentence direct:

Original: In this passage is an example of the use of the rule of justice in argumentation.
Revised: This passage exemplifies argumentation using the rule of justice.

1b. Circle the "is" forms. Using "is" in a sentence gets it off to a slow start, and makes the sentence weak. Replace as many "to be" verbs with action verbs as you can, and change all passive voice ("is defended by") to an active voice ("defends").

Original: The point I wish to make is that fish sleep with their eyes open.
Revised: Fish sleep with their eyes open.

#book - #writing - #howto - #gtd

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