Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem area:
The ghats (steps) located on the shore of the Ganges guided the pilgrim to the source of his salvation. He got off of his elephant and stepped down to the water's edge. Despite the fact that the Ganges is a river that is used as a washtub and a sewer, it is still revered as a baptistry. The pilgrim ignored the pollution. He believed that all his sin was instantly wiped away by means of a ritual bath.
- Unneeded Verbs -
When we use unnecessary words, our sentences lose their power. This is especially true for unneeded verbs and verb phrases. A sentence in our opening paragraph misplaces its emphasis because of an unnecessary verb:
The ghats (steps) located on the shore of the Ganges guided the pilgrim to the source of his salvation.
The phrase on the shore tells where the ghats are located. So we can omit this unnecessary word:
The ghats (steps) on the shore of the Ganges guided the pilgrim to the source of his salvation.
Now the reader is brought, unhindered, to the real action of the sentence: the verb guide.
In the following examples, read each sentence after removing the underlined verb or verb phrase. The directness of each shortened sentence should prove how useful it is to remove such deadwood:
The pilgrim is responsible for making certain offerings.
These are the colored threads used for twisting around the pilgrim's wrists.
The sadhus (holy men) presented in the procession were revered by the pilgrims.
The sadhu will choose a route that can be taken to reach the river.
The elephant and the water buffalo enable alternate transportation to be accomplished.