Suggest improvements for the highlighted problem area:
Bob and Evelyn Louque chose to spend their summer vacation on the Mississippi because it represents the biggest river in North America. From Lake Itasca in northeast Minnesota, they paddled their canoe all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico, a 3,700 mile journey.
Along the way they employed their wits to survive, camping on the shore and fishing for food. Safety was an important concern. Evelyn often referred to her river map that illustrated danger areas.
After many days and nights on the river, they spent a relaxing evening in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Several days later they arrived at the Head of the Passes, where the river breaks out into bayou channels in the Mississippi delta. They were tired but sad that their journey would soon terminate.
- Be Direct With Your Verbs -
When we use our freedom to write powerfully with dynamic verbs, we should also take the responsibility to not overdo it. A dynamic verb can sometimes become a heavy replacement for a simpler verb. In our opening paragraph is a common example:
Bob and Evelyn Louque chose to spend their summer vacation on the Mississippi because it represents the biggest river in North America.
In a reader's mind, the word represent might conjure up confusing associations with alternate definitions, such as symbolize or act on behalf of. To avoid this, let us substitute a lean verb that says what we really meant:
Bob and Evelyn Louque chose to spend their summer vacation on the Mississippi because it is the biggest river in North America.
Other examples follow:
They required few supplies for their journey.
They needed few supplies for their journey.
By being observant, Bob acquired a much better understanding of the river habitat.
By being observant, Bob gained a much better understanding of the river habitat.
Bob and Evelyn wanted to achieve their best.
Bob and Evelyn wanted to do their best.