Eliminating Wordiness

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Eliminating Wordiness

Twelve Tips for Eliminating Wordiness

Avoid using a phrase when a word will do.

at this point in time              =          now

has the ability to                   =          can

in this day and age              =          today

is aware of the fact that       =          knows

due to the fact that               =          because

the majority of                       =          most

on a daily basis                    =          daily

each and every one            =          all

in close proximity to             =          near

Eliminate redundant words.

the reason [why]                  the [final] conclusion

[utmost] perfection               enter [into]

[the month of] August         [totally] oblivious

[the colour] green                 [past] experience

mix [together]                        correct [amount of] change

[viable] alternative                [future] prospects

Avoid needless repetition.

In trauma victims, breathing is restored by artificial respiration. Techniques of artificial respiration include mouth-to-mouth respiration and mouth-to-nose respiration.

In trauma victims, breathing is restored by artificial respiration, either mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose.

Drop most 'there is' and 'there are' sentence openers.

Dropping these openers places key words at the end of the sentence where they are best emphasized:

There are serious consequences in failing to yield right of way.

Failing to yield right of way can have serious consequences.

Avoid some 'it' sentence openers.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our speaker.

I am pleased to introduce our speaker.

Delete needless 'to be' constructions.

Forms of the verb “to be” (is, was, are, etc.) often add clutter without adding meaning: I find some of his stories [to be] amusing.

Avoid weak, wordy verbs.

is in conflict with                  =          conflicts

make an assumption           =          assume

come to a conclusion          =          conclude

take action                             =          act

make a decision                   =          decide

come to the realization        =          realize

Eliminate needless prepositions.

Some members of the committee made these recommendations.

Some committee members made these recommendations.

A man by the name of Godot is waiting for you.

A man named Godot is waiting for you.

Use 'that' and 'which' sparingly.

This [is a] writing problem [that] is easy to correct.

The book [, which is] about Hemingway [,] is fascinating.

Fight noun addiction.

Nouns manufactured from verbs (nominalizations) make your sentences weak and wordy. Weak verbs and needless prepositions often accompany nominalizations:

Give consideration to the possibility of changing jobs.

Consider changing jobs.

Nominalizations can also lead to vagueness by hiding the agent of the action.

A need for immediate action exists.

We must act immediately.

Make negatives positive.

did not succeed        =          failed

does not have           =          lacks

did not prevent         =          allowed

 

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