False Subjects

Karen writes to her co-worker: “I get the feeling that you’re confused about the new  project.” She could eliminate those first five words  and get straight to the subject of her sentence: “Does the new project confuse you?” Eleven versus six words.  This beginning is called a false subject.

There are several ways we can tackle the situation.” Again, a false subject: “there are….” Start with the subject and your sentences are not only shorter and to the point, but they get right the matter at hand. Start, “We can tackle this situation in several ways.”

False subjects can also appear in the middle of a sentence: “We decided that there were some mistakes that needed to be deleted.”Better: “We decided that some mistakes needed to be deleted.” Best: “We decided to delete the mistakes.”

False subject: “It is likely that the appointee may not qualify for the job.
True subject: “The appointee may not qualify for the job.”

False subject: “There is a book I want you to read.”
True subject: “I want you to read Crisis Management.”

Yes, “there is/are” or “it is” are needed in your sentence structure: ” It’s raining.” “There are the two women from work.”  “There’s the building I’ve been looking for.”

Getting rid of your false subjects enhances and clarifies your writing.


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