By tutor Darla Nagel: www.tutapoint.com/darla.n
Who likes seeing the comment “Wordy” in the margin? Who likes reading writing that takes forever to get to the point? Assuming you like neither one, read on for ways to make writing concise. For me, trimming unnecessary words is like de-cluttering—it’s fun!
A simple way to cut words is to find overused ones that add little punch, such as very and really. Another simple way is to use an apostrophe and s to indicate possession more than the “[noun] of the [noun]” construction. Example: the university’s faculty instead of the faculty of the university.
Also, use more verbs and fewer nouns. Many wordy phrases use a verb with a noun to express an idea that one precise verb can express. Example: consider instead of take into consideration.
Those three tricks should help. However, I’ll also provide two lists of phrases to revise: one of redundancies and one of wordy phrases.
Redundancies to trim
Wordy phrases and concise equivalents that work in nearly any sentence
Now, I advise applying my suggestions to a long paragraph you’ve written. Count the number of words in it, and try cutting 10 percent of them. Then, if you can cut 10 percent more without compromising the meaning, do it.
We use more words than necessary when speaking. Therefore, writing concisely doesn’t come naturally. Ironically, I had to revise the previous sentence for wordiness (10 words long). Revise with my lists nearby to state points more efficiently.
This post originally appeared as a blog post on blog.enroll.com.