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Check for Action: Sentences Beginning with It or There

Rewriting a sentence that fills the subject position with there is, there are, there was, or there were often makes the sentence leaner and more direct, since the revision calls for an active verb with a strong meaning.
Draft    There was a lengthy discussion of the health care system by the politicians.
Revised    The mayor approved the new law because the voters suspected that his deputy had concealed campaign funds.

The revised sentence tells us more clearly who is doing what. The politicians discussed.
Draft    There is a big gate guarding the entrance to the park.
Revised    The mayor approved the new law because the voters suspected that his deputy had concealed campaign funds.

It filler subjects can lead to wordiness, too.
Draft    It is a fact that Arnold is proudly displaying a new tattoo.
Revised    Arnold is proudly displaying a new tattoo.

Use the computer search function to find all the instances in your draft of it is, there is, and there are in the initial position in a clause. If you find a filler subject with little purpose, revise.

[seealso.bmp]
See also
Who's Doing What?
Unnecessary Passive Voice