Ironically, although an HR firm’s online article was titled “Words Matter,” it contained this sentence in need of editing. How would you improve it?
As the economy has improved there are less active candidates in the marketplace.
The two errors
We need a comma after the introductory clause, and – because “candidates” is plural – we need to change “less” to “fewer.” The edits yield this corrected sentence: As the economy has improved, there are fewer active candidates in the marketplace.
Fastidious editors aren’t finished yet, however, because using “there are” or “there is” generally weakens our writing. The word “there” is often unnecessary, and with “are” or “is” we have settled for the unexciting verb “to be.” So whenever we have the time, we should reword to eliminate “to be” or use a form of “to be” as a helping verb with a verb that has some pep. For example …
As the economy has improved, we find fewer active candidates in the marketplace.
As the economy has improved, we are finding fewer active candidates in the marketplace.
For more on “there is,” go to my debut post back in September 2104: http://www.normfriedman.com/blog/dont-stumble-at-the-start/