Hey everyone! Here is a sentence from a paper I am writing. When I review it in Grammarly it says it's too wordy. And I actually agree, but I cannot figure out how else to write the sentence. I like the listing that I have currently, but I am wondering if I should chop it up into smaller sentences...? If so, how? Suggestions? Thank you. 


There are eight distinct qualities of a genius: they have enriched home environments during childhood, they live in diverse locales during childhood, they have a reversal of family fortune, they are self-educated, they have tendencies to be independent, autonomous, or rebellious, they are the later-born children in a family, they are emotionally and psychology unstable, and are multicultural and bilingual.

asked Feb 20 '12 at 00:38 Kate New member

1 answer


First, get rid of "they" everywhere.  You don't need to keep saying they are or they have.  The reader knows this is a list of what they have or are.  Additionally, you are talking about a genius, not several.  So the correct pronoun would be he or she.  Along that same line, make sure the other words agree with the singular (or plural if you change it to geniuses.)  A person might have lived in locales (plural), but only had one home environment.  You go back & forth between singular & plural (children).  When making a list, you correctly started with a colon.  Since the items in the list are each phrases (some with commas), each should be set off by a semicolon.  Last, but not least, I wonder if qualities is the word you really want to use. "Distinct qualities of a genius" implies that any genius has all of these qualities.  Since that isn't true, I would use the word commonalities to mean that these are common characteristics. 


There are eight distinct commonalities a genius may possess: an enriched home environment during childhood; lived in diverse locales as a youth; a reversal of family fortune;


I'll let you finish it off. 

link edited Feb 20 '12 at 02:03 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

Thank you so much! That sounds significantly better than what I had before. KateFeb 20 '12 at 17:54

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