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Don't Be Extra

Concise writing is a goal of many people, and they mistakenly equate rambling, using a large vocabulary or including a bunch of jargon with not being concise. While these things often can and do create wordiness, they are not the only hurdles to achieving conciseness.

Often, eliminating one extra word creates more concise writing: that one extra word can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb or preposition; that one extra word can be located at the beginning, middle or end of the sentence.


As the sample sentence below explains, that one extra word can have only three letters.


Original Sentence: OUT OF THE 30 English Composition courses listed for the Fall semester, more than 75% will be taught by adjunct instructors.


The sentence begins with the word “out,” which is an adverb that typically notes direction; however, it has several meanings and applications. Since “out” does provide any description, direction or clarity in the sentence above, it can be deleted (see below).

Edited Sentence: OF THE 30 English Composition courses listed for the Fall semester, more than 75% will be taught by adjunct instructors.


Notice that the edited sentence expresses the same idea as the original sentence, yet it includes one less word. Though this change is minor, imagine the impact similar edits would have on a document of 5, 10 or 25 pages filled with one extra word, sentence after sentence after sentence.


So, how can you be more concise in your writing: don't be extra!!!


Cultivating writers...one tip at a time!




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