5 Ways to Make Your Writing Less Wordy (or, how to write concisely)

5 Ways to Make Your Writing Less Wordy (or, how to write concisely)

Falling short of a required word count? Trying to sound more formal? I’m sure we’ve all committed the crime of wordiness at some stage. But what does it actually do for our writing?

Wordy writing uses more words than necessary to make a point and can damage the quality of your text. Using too many words can hinder the reader’s understanding of the text. It can be irritating. It can be distracting. It can sound unsure.

Concise writing, on the other hand, delivers the message clearly and directly. Precision eliminates confusion, getting to the point is considerate of your reader’s time, and shorter clauses can pack more of a punch. Using fewer words can sound more confident.

Want to know how to make your writing less wordy?

1. Avoid meaningless modifiers

added bonus — a bonus is something that is more than what was expected
true/actual fact — a fact is something that is true
free gift — a gift isn’t paid for by the person receiving it, so it’s free
safe haven — a haven is a place of protection
past history — history is past events
advanced planning — planning is the act of making a plan
close proximity¬†— proximity is the state of being near
carefully scrutinise — to scrutinise is to examine something carefully
unexpected surprise — a surprise is unexpected
combine together — to combine is to bring together
advanced warning — a warning is something that tells of possible danger or trouble

2. Reduce phrases

because of the fact that/ due to the fact that — because
brought up — raised
find out — determine, investigate
give a definition — define
give consideration to/ take into account — consider
grow in size — grow
in reference to — about, regarding
in the event of/that — if
make a contribution – contribute
made a decision – decided
make contact with — contact
on a daily basis — daily
put up with — tolerate
united as one — united
with regards to — regarding, concerning

3. Prefer active voice over passive voice

All the puppies were fed by youYou fed all the puppies
Even if you don’t know who fed all the puppies:
All the puppies were fedSomeone fed all the puppies

4. Remove words like very and extremely and find a better word

The dog ran very quickly across the ovalThe dog sprinted across the oval
Your dog is extremely cute!Your dog is adorable!

5. Watch out for phrases like: that is, there is/are, because of the fact that, to be, in order to, it is

Many people prefer a dog that is brownMany people prefer a brown dog
There are lots of people who like brown dogsLots of people like brown dogs
She found the dog to be friendlyShe found the dog friendly
In order to feed her dog, she needed to buy dog biscuitsTo feed her dog, she needed to buy dog biscuits
It is obvious that Louise likes dogsLouise obviously likes dogs

5 Ways to Write Concisely | Wordy writing uses more words than necessary to make a point and can damage the quality of your text. Visit jackalediting.com for great writing tips to keep your readers engaged.

Louise

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