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Eliminate Wordiness

Get rid of them!


It is a matter of the gravest possible
importance to the health of anyone with
a history of a problem with disease of the
heart that he or she should avoid the sort
of foods with a high percentage of
saturated fats.
ELIMINATE VERBAL FAT!
How can you make the sentence more
concise without changing
the original intent?
Suggested revision
People with a history of heart disease
should avoid foods high in saturated fats.
[42 words 14 words]
Be concise!
What does the sentence say?
What is the most important idea?
How can you convey that message in as few
words as possible?
SPECIFIC METHODS FOR
ACHIEVING CONCISENESS
Avoid redundancies
Examples:
deliberate lie
join together
final outcome
few in number

She circled around the globe.
She circled the globe.
Avoid subject-deferring
expletives
Examples:
there are, it is, there have been

There are three reasons why I love English.
Okay if followed by a listing.

There are three majors offered by the business
department.
The business department offers three majors.
Avoid cluttering sentences
with nouns
Use precise verbs instead.
Do not depend on crutch verbs:
forms of do, make, take, have, go, get, be

The building had the appearance of being newly
renovated.
The building appeared.
The committee took the proposal under
consideration.
The committee considered.
Eliminate adjective clauses
examples:
who are, which was, that had been

The Titanic, which was a huge ocean liner,
sank in 1912.
The Titanic, a huge ocean liner.
Replace prepositional phrases
with single words
He was of a kindly nature.
He was kind.

at this point in time
now
currently
Avoid due to the fact
Due to the fact that she had not studied, she
flunked the test.
Because she had not studied....
Prune intensifiers
Examples:
very, a lot, great, really, absolutely,
definitely, quite, too, terrible, dreadful
If was another very routine start to a two-
week vacation. I definitely had no set plans.
I was really curious about sailing. I went to
an absolutely gorgeous lake. I had a lot of
fun.
Dont overuse no and not
Put your statements in positive form.

She did not do well on the test.
She did poorly....

She was not acquitted.
She was convicted.

Use active voice
Avoid passive voice.
In active voice, the subject is doing the action.
Whos doing it? What are they doing?

The new spending bill was vetoed by the
governor.
The governor vetoed....
The tests were passed out by Ms. Chapman.
Ms. Chapman passed out....
Be concrete & precise
Avoid clichs, euphemisms, and abstractions.

Josh suspected that he would be in an unemployment-
type of situation when the overflow of customers due to
the Christmas shopping circumstances was no longer in
effect.
Josh suspected he would be laid off after the Christmas
rush.
Mrs. Honeychurch entered the eternal heavenly realm
on Tuesday. She will be committed to her final resting
place on Thursday.
Mrs. Honeychurch passed away on Tuesday. Her funeral
will be Thursday.



Combine sentences
Avoid choppy S/V structures.

The President serves a four-year term. She
may seek re-election when it is over.
After serving a four-year term, the President
may seek re-election.
ADD MORE CONTENT,
NOT EXTRA WORDS!
DEADWOOD, FLUFF,
CLUTTER, PADDING, OR B.S.
NEVER SUBSTITUTES FOR
NEW IDEAS, STRONG
REASONS, CONCRETE
DETAILS, OR ADDITI ONAL
EVIDENCE.
George Orwells
Rules for Clear Writing
Never use a clich.
Never use a long word where a short one will
do.
Never use the passive voice where you can
use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase if you can think of
an everyday English equivalent.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always
leave it out.
Credits
Presentation prepared by
Carole Ann Chapman
Ivy Tech Community College
Eliminate There Waste!
There is is a Problem
Eliminate There Waste
There are many options
available to employees.

Employees have many
options.
There are certain issues
that deserve
comprehensive legislative
review.

Certain issues deserve
comprehensive
legislative review.
There are some
alternatives being
proposed that also
need to be reviewed.

Some proposed
alternatives require
reviewing.
We need to review
some proposed
alternatives.
There are a few
issues we wish to
respond to from the
September meeting.

We wish to
respond to a few
issues from the
September
meeting.
There are presently 15 staff members who
make up the fiscal division.

Presently, 15 staff members form the fiscal
division.
The fiscal division employs 15 staff
members.
I. 1. I finally understood the
lecturers point.
2. The director revises
departmental policy.
3. The university needs to
improve food quality in the dorms.
Use precise, concrete,
active verbs
Eliminate subject-deferring
expletives.
II. 1. Children usually learn to swim faster if
taught early.
2. Some blame television for todays poor
reading skills.
3. Others argue that reading skills have
not seriously declined.