“Long sentences are not necessarily wordy, nor are short sentences always concise. A sentence is wordy if it can be tightened without loss of meaning.” – Diana Hacker, The Bedford Handbook 2004.
Wordiness makes writing confusing and can be frustrating to the reader. With so munch content, readers have limited time, so content should be concise and to the point. Below are some examples of way to avoid being too wordy.
There is no need to say the same thing over and over again. Instead, focus on avoiding redundancy in your writing.
Redundant: We assess and prioritize each separate incident.
Better: We assess and prioritize each incident.
Redundant: The New York Times is a newspaper that is credible.
Better: The New York Times is credible.
Redundant: Mike, our CFO, is diligent, hardworking and industrious.
Better: Mike, our CFO, is hardworking.
Empty words and phrases
All the words that you use should have a purpose. Here are some examples to demonstrate how you can avoid empty words and phrases.
Wordy: In my opinion, community support workers make a profound impact on the lives of others.
Better: Community support workers make a profound impact on the lives of others.
Wordy: For all intents and purposes, preparedness saves lives as well as businesses.
Better: Preparedness saves lives and businesses.
Wordy: Change is quite unavoidable in any office situation.
Better: Change is unavoidable in any office situation.
Expressions can often be said more clearly in another way. The problem with expressions is that they can easily be misinterpreted.
Wordy: His promotion will be delayed until such time as this matter has been resolved.
Better: His promotion will be delayed until this matter has been resolved.
Wordy: The price of the property is in the neighborhood of a million dollars.
Better: The price of the property is about a million dollars.
“There is/are … that” and “It is … that” phrases
Wordy: There are many employees who share your vision.
Better: Many employees share your vision.
Wordy: It is the platform that is the problem.
Better: The platform is the problem.
Passive voice sentences should be modified to active voice.
Wordy: A need for additional training is indicated by these results.
Better: These results indicate a need for additional training.
Wordy: Patients can be empowered by using our software.
Better: Our software empowers patients.
“To be” verbs
“To be” verbs and overused prepositional phrases should be eliminated as they don’t read well.
Wordy: Lack of sleep is bad for your health.
Better: Lack of sleep harms your health.
Wordy: Seniors with diabetes are in need of caregiving services.
Better: Diabetic seniors need caregiving services.
Wordy: In this book are examples of the use of imagery in poetry.
Better: This book includes examples of imagery in poetry.
Even better: This book exemplifies imagery use in poetry.
Always try to say less with more. Your writing will improve and your readers will thank you.