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Osceola Writing Center

Wordiness

In academic and business writing, being aware of how many words you use to say something is especially important. Creative writing allows for much more looseness in terms of wordiness because there is a different purpose- creative writing is used to submerge the writer in the details of a story, often while using lenthier and more artistic wording, while academic/business writing is meant to get to the point quickly and directly. That being said, writing is subjective; what one person considers wordy might not be wordy to another. So, in your academic writing, it's important to be concise, using only as many words as necessary to get your point across.

 

What is it?

Wordiness is simply having overly lengthy or redundant wording in your sentences/paragraphs.

Example:

Wordy: The question of whether or not he had made a decision was answered in abundant clarity through one reading of his quizical complexion.

Concise: He still had not made a decision.

 

How to Fix

Obviously, the easy answer for how to fix wordiness is to remove the extra words or redundancies; however, how do you know if something is too wordy? Here are some ways to make your writing more concise:

1. Remove redundant information (saying the same thing more than once):

Example: People studying while on a student visa in the United States do not have US citizenship. (if they are on a visa, then it's obvious they are not citizens- which is redundant)

2. Shorten redundant phrases:

We often use many phrases in English that are highly redundant. Consequently, taking out the redundant part will remove the wordiness.

Examples:

surrounded on all sides --> surrounded (surrounded already means something is around all sides)

personal opinion --> opinion (opinions are already personal)

4 am in the morning --> 4 am (4 am only happens in the morning)

3. Shorten lengthy phrases:

Examples:

In the event that something happens... --> If something happens...

Due to the fact that... --> Because...

In this day and age... --> Today...

4. Combine sentences when possible:

Wordy: Teachers are responsible for providing academic content to their students. They are also responsible for making sure that students are aware of the course requirements.

Better: Teachers are responsible for providing academic content and making students aware of course requirements.

These are just a few ways to improve the conciseness of your writing. Take a look at some other resources below for more ways to prevent wordiness.

 

More Resources

 

Exercises

 

 
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