3rd February 2016
The Benefits of Writing Concisely
Despite popular belief, wordiness – using more words than necessary to make a point – doesn’t make a paper sound more intellectual. Rather, it clouds your ideas and detracts from the impact of your writing.
Writing concisely, on the other hand, will improve your work by:
- Keeping your point focused
- Ensuring your arguments flow clearly
- Helping you stay within the word allowance of your assignments
But how do you make sure your written work is always concise?
Focus on Your Thesis
Somewhere at the beginning of your paper, you should have a clear statement of your thesis. This will guide the rest of your paper, since every point you make should add to your argument. If something in your work is not relevant to your thesis, consider whether it needs to be there.
Faster! Harder! Stronger! (aka Editing Ruthlessly)
The first draft is only the starting point in writing a good academic paper. Once you’ve got everything down, re-read it carefully, looking for errors and considering potential improvements.
In terms of readability, this will typically include eliminating unnecessary words, tightening sentence structures and making sure that each paragraph flows smoothly to the next.
Avoid Redundancy and Repetition
Beware of redundancy and repetition. Redundancy is when we use a phrase that includes additional terms for no reason: in “the car was green in color,” for instance, “in color” is redundant because we know that “green” usually refers to a color.
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Repetition, meanwhile, is the unnecessary inclusion of the same point twice. If you’ve already introduced a concept in your work, for example, there’s no need to reintroduce it later on. Cutting repetition can make your writing much more succinct.
Words, Not Phrases
Try not to use several words when one will do. For instance, the sentence:
It was an experience that I found very interesting for many reasons and from which I learned a lot.
Could be rewritten more concisely as:
It was a fascinating and educational experience.
Simply put, “fascinating” and “educational” are an economical way of saying “I found interesting for many reasons” and “from which I learned a lot” respectively. As such, the rewritten sentence is easier to read.
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