How to write concisely

“If it’s possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.” – George Orwell

In this article of English with Internshala series, we’ll discuss the art of writing concisely. Concise writing doesn’t always have the fewest words, but it always uses the strongest words. Whether it’s a two-word quip or a 300-word essay, a sentence must be crisp. Many students use weak, unnecessary words to fill in their answers/essays to make up for their lack of knowledge. However, like bad employees, words that don’t accomplish much should be fired. Here are a couple of pointers to achieve efficiency and conciseness in your writing, followed by some examples:

1. Avoid using intensifiers like very : Using phrases like very happy, very cold, very sad etc. not just indicate your limited vocabulary but also make your writing appear forceful. Use single, stronger words to express those same feelings.
Example – Use furious instead of ‘very angry’ and freezing in place of ‘very cold’

2. Eliminate redundancy: Avoid saying the same thing twice. Redundant phrases rob your writing of its freshness , making it unbearable for the readers.
Example: 12 noon – noon, true fact – fact

Tip: Interrogate every word of your sentence and check whether your writing still makes sense if you remove that word. Thus, peel off your writing word by word till you remove all the unnecessary words.

Let’s look at some examples of wordy sentences and how they can be written concisely.

Wordy: There were many factors involved that influenced his decision to decline the company’s offer. (14 words)
Revised: Many factors influenced his decision to decline the company’s offer. (10 words)

Wordy: In this day and age, people are under the impression that it is important to express ideas in a concise manner. (21 words)
Revised: Today, it’s important to express ideas concisely. (10 words)

Wordy: The reason why Nikhil joined government college was because it was inexpensive in price. He wasn’t a miser; actually, it was because of the fact that he came from a financially weak background and understood the value of money. Kamal works in that same college and teaches the subject of biochemistry. Kamal’s wife is a woman who is unhappy because of the fact that kamal ignores her. She wants him to spend more time with her rather than spending so much time with his students. Since the college only had a small number of students who had taken biochemistry, Nikhil soon became the favorite student of Kamal. (107 words)
Revised: Nikhil joined government college because it was inexpensive. He wasn’t a miser; he came from a financially weak background and understood the value of money. Kamal teaches biochemistry at the same college. His wife is unhappy as he ignores her and wants him to spend more time with her. Since the college had only few biochemistry students, Nikhil soon became Kamal’s favorite student. (63 words)

To get more hands-on practice on writing concisely, take this practice test and this practice quiz.

Now that you have practiced the art of writing concisely, it’s time to check your learning; take this exciting assignment by clicking on the next button below. To go back to the earlier article, click on the previous button.

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