Tinny wording - Detroit Fire
So in an AP story about the Detroit fires was this wording:
Wind gusts of up to 50 mph forced flames to jump from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 homes and garages -- many abandoned -- across several neighborhoods.
"Forced flames to jump"? OK, so the wind didn't have a gun at the flames' back, and it is understandable. But it is a bit tinny. Any writing, but especially journalism that is trying to catch and hold harried readers should be more than just understood. It should strive for some elegance.
Substitute "caused" for "forced," and you reduce that tinniness. Eliminate "to jump" so you have "forced flames from house to house" and it's even better. Finally, if you want (since "forced" still has that little connotation of volition), change it to "pushed" or "swept."
Wind gusts of up to 50 mph pushed flames from house to house, eventually encompassing 85 homes and garages -- many abandoned -- across several neighborhoods.