Writing exercise

In an hour, rewrite the piece below omitting or amending any words that you think are not necessary. It is not the best flowing story, but has been put together to include as many unnecessary words or phrases as possible. There are at least 20 examples, possibly 25 – find as many as you can.


A PETROL filling station in the village of Barnetby was badly damaged by a violent explosion last night.

The brick and corrugated building was totally razed to the ground in the blast.

Firemen from several towns in the county of North Lincolnshire appeared on the scene and spent over eight hours tackling the blaze.

In the early hours of the morning a secondary fire broke out in an adjoining transport cafe and was quickly dealt with.

Humberside Chief Fire Officer George Peters told reporters that the original source of the blaze could well have been a lighted cigarette carelessly discarded.

He said the cafe was in close proximity to the petrol filling station and their first priority was to keep the general public away from the scene. Teams of firefighters had linked up together to pour thousands of gallons of foam on the blaze.

A number of onlookers from the village of Barnetby had gathered in the vicinity of the station to watch was going on.

He said the fire service would probably have to spend more hours at the scene, probably winding down around the hour of noon.

He added: “I am asking for the mutual co-operation of the public by asking them to stay away from the vicinity of the fire until the emergency is finally over.”

Meanwhile, the manager of the petrol filling station, Mrs Jean Blackburn, said everything had been totally destroyed in the fire.

Mrs Blackburn, who is the widow of the late David Blackburn, the local Barnetby businessman who originally built the station and the cafe 20 years ago, added that she was determined to find the root cause of the incident. She had been summoned to the scene shortly after midnight. Thankfully, no members of the general public were in close proximity when the fire broke out. And most of the petrol tanks were quite empty at the time.

Mrs Blackburn said the blaze had created an acute crisis for her and her family, but she was hopeful that once the root cause had been established it would soon be back to normal.

She managed a smile on her face and added she looked forward to a new beginning for the business once the mess was cleared up.

Mrs Blackburn estimated the cost of the damage topped the £50,000 mark.


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