Eliminating Wordiness

Good academic writing is clear and concise. These twelve strategies can help you reduce wordiness in your own writing.

hand writing with pen; coffee cup in background

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

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 prospects

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.

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.

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our speaker.

I am pleased to introduce our speaker.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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 make a sentence vague by hiding the agent of the action, i.e., the subject performing the verb. For example:

A need for immediate action exists.

We must act immediately.

did not succeed = failed

does not have = lacks

did not prevent = allowed