The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
Clear, Concise Sentences

Reduce expletive constructions

Expletive constructions are phrases such as:

  • it is
  • there is
  • there are

Try to avoid using them, since these constructions merely obscure the main subject and action of a sentence.

Examples

Expletive: It was her last argument that finally persuaded me.

Correction: Her last argument finally persuaded me.

Expletive: There are likely to be many researchers raising questions about this methodological approach.

Correction: Many researchers are likely to raise questions about this methodological approach.

Expletive: It is inevitable that oil prices will rise.

Correction: Oil prices will inevitably rise.