The goal of concise writing is to use the most effective words. Now, don’t be mistaken. Conciseness doesn’t mean using big fancy words. In order to write with conciseness, an important thing to remember is to keep it simple. One common characteristic that most under-developed writers have is to draw out sentences with unnecessary words. Conciseness helps you to write clearly by eliminating words and rearranging your phrases. To be more concise a general rule when writing is using fewer, but more specific, words. For example:
“Sarah believed, but could not confirm, that Tom had feelings for her.”
“Working as a pupil under a coach who coaches in the NFL was a fantastic experience because it helped me learn a lot.”
“Sarah assumed that Tom adored her.”
“Working as an NFL coach’s apprentice was an educational experience.”
The Concise writing uses about half the words, but gets the point across more clearly than the wordy examples.
How do you check for conciseness? Easy! Make sure every word you are using is providing something important to a sentence. If the word is not providing anything, and it’s just dead weight, delete it. In your writing, you should be looking for words known as unnecessary qualifiers: Actually, really, basically, probably, very, definitely, and somewhat. Theses words generally add dead weight to your writing, so it would be best to avoid them. Overuse of prepositional phrases chunks up your writing, and can make it unclear. Prepositions are words like: In, for, at, on, through and over. Circle these words in your draft and see if you can eliminate some of them without losing your meaning. For example:
“My teacher showed me many different ways of writing out our work for our math problems, so it was easier for us to complete our homework later that day.”
“The reason for the failure of the football team of the University of Oregon in the championship game against the Ohio State Buckeyes, was that on that day and in that time, some players were unable to successfully tackle the offensive players.”
“My teacher showed me convenient ways to complete my homework for tonight.”
“Oregon’s Football team lost in the championship game against Ohio State due to it’s inability to play good defense.”
By eliminating prepositional phrases, unnecessary qualifiers, and other words with dead weight, you shorten your sentences providing a more effective sentence. Another tool for your revision process is to eliminate redundant pairs. This is when the first and second words have similar meanings. Some examples include: Full and complete, each and every, always and forever. To show this in a sentence:
Redundant example: “For each and every sandwich you purchase, you will receive a free bag of chips.”
Revision: “For every sandwich you purchase, you will receive a free bag of chips.”
It’s critical to be concise in your writing, and it’s something every writer should work on. It allows your reader to understand your thoughts clearly. Students get carried away with the amount they have to write, and drawing out there sentences to reach a quota of words is only destroying their papers. Being concise in my writing is something I never thought about. It’s definitely a strong tool to use if you are having trouble with getting your point across in a clear and understandable way.