The Art of Writing with Concision
We’ve all read long-winded, overly wordy writing that takes too long to get to the point—leaving us frustrated and bored. With WriteLab’s feedback on concision, you can ensure that your own writing doesn’t fall into this trap.
WriteLab helps you make every word count. Writing concisely means deliberately selecting the strongest, most precise words or phrases to quickly and clearly convey meaning. Cut the fluff, the unnecessary filler, and any words or phrases that don’t add value to your writing. Concise writing is clearer, more impactful, and more engaging for the reader.
In this post, we’ll cover WriteLab’s concision suggestions by focusing on three areas in particular:
- Unnecessary Words
- Empty Words
- Compact Phrases
WriteLab helps you eliminate needless words and phrases, condensing and refining your writing. For example, the software pinpoints repetitive words that do not add meaning to your prose.
Click each image example in this post to enlarge the view.
WriteLab also points out the unnecessary use of negatives to modify adjectives. You don’t need to use a negative plus a positive adjective when the negative version of that adjective would suffice.
For instance, instead of writing, “Uncle Bob’s visit was not expected,” WriteLab would advise you to write, “Uncle Bob’s visit was unexpected.” This revision is shorter, easier to understand, and more concise.
WriteLab encourages you to delete weak, vague, and general words or replace them with strong, precise alternatives. This includes eliminating empty verbs in favor of more powerful active verbs.
Hedge words are another type of empty word identified by WriteLab. Writers sometimes use hedge words, or cautious language, to avoid fully committing to their arguments.
For example, WriteLab would encourage you to eliminate the phrase, “In most cases” from the sentence, “In most cases, lack of sleep is detrimental to student performance in school.” Eliminating hedge words makes your writing more concise and confident.
Use WriteLab’s suggestions to condense long, unwieldy phrases without losing key information. For example, learn how to simplify complex sentences and be straightforward in your writing.
WriteLab also helps you tighten up verb-heavy sentences with the use of free modifiers, phrases that describe a sentence’s subject.
If you wrote, “The vegetables were picked this morning and are still fresh,” WriteLab might suggest, “The vegetables picked this morning are still fresh.” This revision eliminates the string of verb phrases, making the sentence more cohesive.
The Art of Writing with Concision Recap
Writing with concision means carefully selecting your words for maximum precision, meaning, and impact. Concise writing is more engaging, more powerful, and easier for readers to understand.
The art of writing with concision is best summarized in the classic writing guide The Elements of Style:
- Identify and remove redundant words.
- Combine negative adjectives (“not”) with the words they modify to prevent clutter.
- Replace empty verbs such as “to be” with more specific verbs.
- Delete hedge words and phrases that convey uncertainty or confusion.
- Avoid unnecessarily complex language, which may confuse your readers.
- Simplify your sentences by using free modifiers.
To learn more tips and tricks for bringing concision to your writing, review WriteLab’s Guide.