Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem area:
The greatest of rivers begins with a small trickle from a glacier high in the Andes, 150 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean. This thin stream feeds into Lake Ninococha, which itself pours out as the Maranon River. After coursing through 1000 kilometers of the Andes, the Maranon descends into the vast rain forest of equatorial South America. Brazil covers most of this region. As it continues on, traveling 4000 kilometers to the east, it is joined by more than 1000 other tributaries to form the Amazon, which is regarded as being the mightiest of all rivers. Into the Atlantic Ocean it flows, carrying 100,000 tons of silt each hour and delivering enough water to fill 60 Olympic swimming pools each second.
- Unneeded Words -
One of our most common writing mistakes is to use phrases that have too many words. An example is our use of phrases with overlapping meanings, such as boiling hot. Most people use them all the time when they talkóbut that doesn't make it right. We should avoid them in our writing. Consider the first sentence of our opening paragraph:
The greatest of rivers begins with a small trickle from a glacier high in the Andes, 150 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean.
Now, a trickle is, by definition, small. So why qualify it as being small? Why call a sky-scraper tall? Or a night dark? The answer is -- there is no good reason to do so. We do it out of force of habit; we do it because everyone else does it. Unfortunately, readers tend to fall asleep when they read too many wordy phrases. Their minds become overloaded sorting the meaningful words from the unnecessary words. Our readers deserve better, so we should be concise:
The greatest of rivers begins with a trickle from a glacier high in the Andes, 150 kilometers from the Pacific Ocean.