Concision

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Last time on our lecture developing your writing style we talked about how using active voice is much

more concise than using passive voice.

Today’s lecture is all about concision.

So beyond just changing your passive voice to active We’re going to talk about some strategies of how

to write more concisely Concision is key to a persuasive argument and key to good college writing.

So the opposite of concision is of course wordiness which is simply using more words than are necessary.

The goal of today’s lecture is to give you some strategies on how to eliminate wordiness.

The first way that students are often wordy is by using unnecessary introductory words for example now

that I think about it I remember having a great time on our cruise.

A much more concise way would be to say I remember having a great time on our cruise so we get rid of

that wordy introduction another cause for worrying this is unnecessary relative clauses.

Here we have the corn which is sold at the farmer’s market that takes place every Saturday is fresher

than in the supermarket.

Here we have a number of relative clauses we have which is sold at the farmer’s market and that takes

place every Saturday so we have two relative clauses within that sentence.

Let’s make that more concise.

The corn sold at the farmer’s market every Saturday is fresher than in the supermarket so I’m not saying

you should never use relative clauses relative clauses should only be used to add clarification or meaning

to the sentence.

OK so with our concise version here we are not losing any meaning or clarification than our wordy sentence

with those multiple relative clauses so we need to cut out any relative clauses that are not adding

clarification or meaning.

Another common wordiness issue is when we use too many prepositional phrases.

Let’s look at an example professional chefs are required by their employers to wash their hands in the

bathroom before preparing food in the kitchen of the restaurant where they work OK.

So this one’s over-the-top wordy.

We have here.

How many propositional phrases by their employers.

One in the bathroom two before preparing food three in the kitchen kitchen.

Four of the restaurant five are five prepositional phrase within this one sentence.

Let’s see if we can make that more concise professional chefs are required to wash their hands before

preparing food in a restaurant.

OK so we have the basically the exact same meaning in almost two lines less k so hopefully this is emphasizing

how writing more concise really cuts down the wordiness while still maintaining the same meaning.

Another way to be more concise is to get rid of vague nouns.

Let’s look at an example the arrival of the police did not calm the nature of the protest dilemma.

Let’s see how many nouns we have in here.

We have the arrival police nature protest dilemma.

We have five nouns in one sentence.

Let’s make this more concise.

The arrival of the police did not calm the protest.

Notice we’re not losing any meaning.

Well we’ve cut that down from five nouns to three nouns.

Here is something that I need to work on when I speak.

My writing is fine and in being concise but when I speak I repeat to off when we write we need to be

more concise we cannot use unnecessary repetition.

So before the soccer game we stopped to buy a sports drink the sports drink we bought for the soccer

game was grape flavored the grape flavored sports drink was just what I needed.

During the soccer game.

Let’s make this more concise.

Before the soccer game we stopped to buy a grape flavored sports drink.

It was just what I needed during the game.

So instead of repeating soccer and grape and flavor over and over and over again.

We use pronouns to replace those words and make it more concise.

We cut it we cut out the repetition.

One more example of wordiness.

A common example of wordiness is lengthy modifiers.

Here we have the accident happened as a result of the two drivers not paying attention.

Instead of that modifier as a result of we could simply use the word because the accident happened because

the two drivers were not paying attention.

So the difference in these two sentences is not as dramatic as in the previous examples.

However it is still a significant change toward a more concise writing style.

Finally a review from last time.

Make passive voice active.

So we have the wordy example.

The computers had been stolen by them by the thief just before midnight.

Instead let’s make it more concise by converting the passive sentence into active.

The thief stole the computers just before midnight.

So as important as your right to consider how wordy you are being how much you’re repeating yourself

how many lengthy modifiers you are using.

How many vague nouns are prepositional phrases or relative clauses are you using.

If we cut those down already in the initial writing we are way ahead in the revision process as we revise

so we also need to be looking for ways we can cut our writing down or cut the wordiness out in order

to have a more concise and direct style of writing called writing praises.

Concision and I’d be happy to look at an example paragraph to give you some feedback on how to make

your writing more concise so send along my way and we’ll see.

See you next time.

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