3 Easy Ways to Write More Concisely
Writers can employ various categorical strategies to make their writing more active and concise. Here are three simple types of unnecessary wording to keep in mind (and out of one’s writing).
1. Extinguish Expletives
An expletive is an indirect phrase that only delays a reader’s acquaintance with the writer’s point. Expletives include “There is,” “there are,” “there was,” and “there were,” as well as any of these phrases with it substituting for there. It is not necessary to always delete expletives, as the current sentence demonstrates, but they should be employed judiciously. In most cases, simply sweep the expletive away and begin with a subject, as in revision of “There are other steps a company can take before an economic downturn to protect against its impact” to “A company can take other steps before an economic downturn to protect against its impact.”
2. Adjust Adjectives to Adverbs
Business-speak, when rendered as text, is often notoriously stilted and verbose. One class of wordy wording often found in business writing is represented by such adjective-noun phrases as “on a daily basis,” which is easily replaced by the adverbial form of the adjective (which in this case is identical: daily). Regarding similar usage, “This issue will be resolved on a case-by-case basis” is easily converted to “This issue will be resolved case by case.” (Again, the replacement is identical, though the hyphens are now superfluous.) Sometimes, the writer must replace the adjective, as in the case of timely, which is seldom used as an adverb and does not stand as such on its own: To render “in a timely manner” more concise, for example, simply substitute promptly.
3. Avoid Adjectives
Some adjectives and adverbs themselves are extraneous. Such qualifiers as currently and different almost never contribute to comprehension. For example, in “We are currently accepting applications,” the verb are clearly represents that acceptance of application is a current state, meaning that currently serves no useful purpose, and “These shirts come in seven different colors” provides no more information than “These shirts come in seven colors,” and different can therefore be omitted without negative consequences.
Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily!
Keep learning! Browse the Style category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:
Stop making those embarrassing mistakes! Subscribe to Daily Writing Tips today!
- You will improve your English in only 5 minutes per day, guaranteed!
- Subscribers get access to our archives with 800+ interactive exercises!
- You'll also get three bonus ebooks completely free!