Just because a sentence or paragraph is long does not necessarily mean that it is wordy, nor does the fact that a sentence is short mean that it is necessarily concise. To write concisely means to eliminate words that aren’t necessary because they don’t add anything to the meaning of a sentence. Rules
1.Avoid Unnecessary Repetition
Not: When Les saw the advertisement in the newspaper for the executive accountant position, he decided to apply for the position. Les had worked for his current firm for five years, but he was ready for a new position with a different firm. Les was confident that he would be offered the position if he applied for the position. But:When Les saw the advertisement in the newspaper for the executive accountant position, he decided to apply for the job. The young man had worked for his current firm for five years, but he was ready for a new role with a different company. Les was confident that he would be offered the position if he applied for it. 2.Avoid Redundancy
Not: For the summer social she bought a dress that was yellow in color. I’m not sure what the end result of the meetings will be. But:For the summer social she bought a yellow dress. I’m not sure what the result of the meetings will be. Not: Bringing the project to final completion three weeks early, the new manager earned our respectful regard.
But: Completing the project three weeks early, the new manager earned our respect 3.Avoid Empty Words and Phrases: eliminate dead wood.
Not: There are more than 30 people living in this apartment building. In my opinion, the best thing that they can do is to start over. But:More than 30 people live in this apartment building.
The best thing they can do is to start over.
Not: In fact, the television station which was situated in the local area had won a great many awards as a result of its having been involved in the coverage of all kinds of controversial issues.
But: The local television station had won many awards for its coverage of controversial issues.
4.Avoid Wordy Phrases and Sentences.
Not: When you need to make repairs to your appliance, carefully consult the owner’s manual. Before performing the test on the patients, the doctor made sure to obtain their permission. But:When you need to repair your appliance, carefully consult the owner’s manual. Before testing the patients, the doctor obtained their permission. Not: It is necessary for students to fill out both registration forms. But: Students must fill out both registration forms.
Not: They refused to make alterations to the plans in order to be compliant with the building code. His management of the business was excellent.
But:They refused to alter the plans in order to be compliant with the building code. He managed the business excellently.
Not: The accumulation of paper went on for more than thirty years.
But: The paper accumulated for more than thirty years.
6.Avoid Unnecessary Passive Voice
Not: The meeting was initiated by my supervisor.
Yesterday an emergency evacuation was mandated by the mayor. But:My supervisor initiated the meeting.
Yesterday the mayor mandated an emergency evacuation.
Not: Volunteer work was done by the students for credit in sociology. But: The students did volunteer work for credit in sociology. However, sometimes the passive voice is preferred. When writers want to focus on the action rather than the actor or when the actor is unimportant or unknown, passive constructions are generally best. Examples: Last week two escaped convicts were captured.
We heard that 30 employees will be laid off next week.
7.Avoid Unnecessarily Long Sentences
Not: Over the course of the year, Jerry Brothers Inc. increased their profits by only 3 percent, which was disappointing, but they were able to reduce their overhead by more...