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 heavyReplace with:
do a study of the effects ofstudy the effects of
is indicative of indicates
provides a summary ofsummarizes
has a tendency totends to
the author is saying thatthe author says
I will provide arguments for I argue
we were able to completewe completed
the process of writingwriting
the amount of effort required the effort required
one of the main reasons whyone reason
the field of linguistics linguistics
take into considerationconsider
on a regular basisregularly
on the educational front in education
during the month of April in April 
has an ability to  can
carried out an experimentexperimented


Empty sentence openers: Cut them to save space.
It is apparent, therefore, thatIn regards to the matter at hand  It is obvious that 
If you ask me  It is my belief thatIt seems to me that     
Probably  For that matter I believe/think that
In other words   I’m not sure butIn my opinion
For all intents and purposes   For one thingSupposedly
Believe it or not    ReallyAs a matter of fact


Empty modifiers: Cut them to improve your tone.


truly incredible wholly impossible 
really relevant  clearly evident
perfectly clearcompletely satisfied
somewhat trueplainly demonstrated
most importantly of allfinally recognized
totally false everyone in the world
actually completed practically always
generally acceptedabsolutely 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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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

 resistant to all known antimicrobials.              

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