Last week, I was working on the bio section of web copy for a client. I wanted to describe the artist’s creative abandon without sounding so dramatic, so I used “creative inhibition.”

Here’s the sentence: Her creative inhibition combines her keen awareness of social groups and cultures with hand-drawn images and rich color palettes.

Problem? Inhibition does not mean the same thing as uninhibited, which is the word I was thinking.

Inhibition (noun): a feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way

Uninhibited (adjective): expressing one’s feelings or thoughts unselfconsciously and without restraint

Not to mention that the words are antonyms, one is a noun, the other an adjective. So I couldn’t just swap the words. And writing “uninhibited creativity” sounds cumbersome.

Here’s the revision: Her artistry combines a keen awareness of social groups and cultures with hand-drawn images and rich color palettes.

When editing and revising, I try to stick to the motto “less is more,” thanks to a lesson learned more than 10 years ago from my old friends, Strunk & White: “Omit needless words.”

See how swapping two words for one makes all the difference?

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