Wordiness

Wordiness 101 A sentence is wordy when its sound exceeds its meaning. As you edit, cut or restate anything that does not help the reader focus on your point. Common types of wordiness include:

Pointless prepositions: Cut them and let the main words do their job.

the story continues on to its climax                                 

when Lincoln entered into the room                  

this occurred alongside of another event                       

throughout in the story

in the making of the movie

filling up the pipes

write out the answers

establishing of the truth

Conceptual Clutter: Don't bury key words in heavy phrases.

Too heavy Replace with:
do a study of the effects of study the effects of
is indicative of  indicates
provides a summary of summarizes
has a tendency to tends to
the author is saying that the author says
I will provide arguments for  I argue
we were able to complete we completed
the process of writing writing
the amount of effort required  the effort required
one of the main reasons why one reason
the field of linguistics  linguistics
take into consideration consider
on a regular basis regularly
on the educational front  in education
during the month of April  in April 
has an ability to   can
carried out an experiment experimented

       

Empty sentence openers: Cut them to save space.

It is apparent, therefore, that In regards to the matter at hand   It is obvious that 
If you ask me   It is my belief that It seems to me that     
Probably   For that matter  I believe/think that
In other words    I’m not sure but In my opinion
For all intents and purposes    For one thing Supposedly
Believe it or not     Really As a matter of fact

                                                

Empty modifiers: Cut them to improve your tone.

truly incredible  wholly impossible 
really relevant   clearly evident
perfectly clear completely satisfied
somewhat true plainly demonstrated
most importantly of all finally recognized
totally false  everyone in the world
actually completed  practically always
generally accepted absolutely insane

Clichés and slang: Avoid them because they are stale and vague.

hindsight is twenty-twenty   time to get real    see the light at the end of the in his heart of hearts     breaks new ground     tunnel

over and over again   a different ball game   doesn’t have a clue   hit the nail on the head   get over it    only time will tell

Circumlocutions: Prefer active, concise phrasing.

                                                                     mean

1. When people say science they are relating it to  what happens in a laboratory.

2. The readers can relate and sympathize with the main character.

                                           imagine

3. The viewers can relate by imagining King Kong’s feelings.

                                          uses

4. Orwell’s ideas are related to the audience with strong examples.

5. The author<’s> provides several convincing statements which make her arguments

              <are> a persuasive one.

Winn’s definition of

6. The definition used here to describe addiction applies to t.v. watching.

                                          addicts

7. Drug addiction is an addiction which enables the user to lead a damaged life.

8. In a previous study (Ji-Dong Gu et al <1999>) it was shown that the pigment forming

eubacterium, Voesella indigofera, is sensitive to hexavalent chromium.

  Some

9. There have been findings of certain Stapholococcus Areus strains that are

 resistant to all known antimicrobials.

Resources for Learning

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