|LEO: Literacy Education Online|
Strategies for Reducing Wordiness
Wordiness results from many sources. Many of us have learned to pad our writing with all sorts of empty phrases to reach length requirements for academic writing. Wordiness also tends to occur when we're struggling to clarify our ideas or when we're tired and not thinking clearly. Regardless of the reason for padded writing, we can achieve concise writing if we incorporate several strategies during the writing process and if we're aware of the individual patterns of wordiness typical of our own writing.
You can eliminate wordiness in your writing if . . .
As you read the following list, consider which patterns are typical of your writing:
It is expensive to upgrade computer systems.
Upgrading computer systems is expensive.
Chlorofluorocarbons have been banned from aerosols. This has lessened the ozone layer's depletion.
Chlorofluorocarbons have been banned from aerosols, lessening the ozone layer's depletion.
The committee, which meets monthly, oversees accounting procedures and audits.
The committee, meeting monthly, oversees accounting procedures and audits.
Because the fluid, which was brown and poisonous, was dumped into the river, the company that was negligent had to shut down.
Because the brown, poisonous fluid was dumped into the river, the negligent company had to shut down.
Rain forests are being destroyed by uncontrolled logging.
Uncontrolled logging is destroying rain forests.
A new fire curtain is necessary for the stage.
The stage needs a new fire curtain.
The South African government was undergoing significant changes.
The South African government underwent significant changes.
The environmental council could see several solutions.
The environmental council saw several solutions.
I submitted an application for the job.
I applied for the job.
The President of the Student Senate was in charge of the lobbying against the merger at the Minnesota Congress.
The Student Senate President oversaw lobbying the Minnesota Congress against the merger.
The theater has three main technical areas. These areas are costumes, scenery, and lighting.
The theater has three main technical areas: costumes, scenery, and lighting.
The director is concerned about problems. Typical problems may occur with lighting, sound, and props.
The director is concerned about typical problems with lighting, sound, and props.