November 3 2009

How to become a concise writer

by Barbie in Writing

A common problem we come across in the documents we edit is unnecessarily wordy sentences. Often, writers use verbose phrases to convey a point, not realizing that such wordiness often muddies the clarity of the sentence. The key in writing concisely is to make each word count. If a word in a sentence has no meaningful impact, then it doesn’t need to be there.

Here are a few tips that will help you write concisely:

1) Eliminate unnecessary adjectives.

Adjectives are effective when they offer a vivid description and, as a result, improve reader understanding. However, adjectives can confuse readers when they are used indiscriminately. Here are some examples:

  • It was a dark night.
  • The small infant would not stop crying.
  • The tornado was a serious disaster.

2) Be succinct.

Some wordy phrases can be stated more succinctly. Here are some examples:

  • in regard to = about
  • prior to = before
  • in the event that = if

3) Avoid redundancy.

Redundant words can also impact reader comprehension. Here are some examples:

  • the final outcome = outcome
  • first and foremost = first
  • yellow in color = yellow