Writers: Eliminating Wordiness

I recently did a blog post on being wordy and word choices. I found this great article buried over at the Ball State University JD Writing Center. Although very simple, I think that ties into my orginal post and completes the thought. I was unable to determine the author of the work, but I thought it worth a re-post here. Whoever wrote thing did us a great service. Thank you!

-Ron

ELIMINATING WORDINESS
By Author Unknown

Do not repeat a word unless you need it again for clarity or emphasis.

WORDY: When I was a child, my favorite relatives were the relatives who treated me like a grown-up.
REVISED: When I was a child, my favorite relatives treated me like a grown-up.

Avoid redundancy. Don’t say the same thing twice using different words or phrases.

WORDY: The hero begins to behave strangely and in odd ways following his tryst with a witch he meets secretly at midnight.
REVISED: The hero begins to behave strangely following his midnight tryst with a witch.

In general, don’t start sentences with There is, There are, or There were.

WORDY: There are many ways in which we can classify houses.
REVISED: We can classify houses in many ways.

Avoid cluttering sentences with nouns.

WORDY: The reason for George’s refusal to be a member of the secret society was his dislike of its elitism.
REVISED: George refused to join the secret society because he disliked its elitism.

Remove adjective clauses like who are, which was, and that were.

WORDY: The antique dealer who is on Allen Street has a pair of silver candlesticks that were designed by Paul Revere.
REVISED: The antique dealer who is on Allen Street has a pair of silver candlesticks designed by Paul Revere.

Replace prepositional phrases with single adjectives or adverbs.

WORDY: She regarded me in a stern way.
REVISED: She regarded me sternly.

Remove “to be” whenever possible.

WORDY: Vince Lombardi was considered to be an excellent football coach.
REVISED: Vince Lombardi was considered an excellent football coach.

About Ron

Host and producer of Ron's Amazing Stories since 2011.
This entry was posted in Writing Tips. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s