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Wordiness


Beginning writers often create sentences that are grammatically correct, but awkward. Some writing is wordy and fuzzy, using language that betrays unclear thinking. The writer may have used words that only approximate the meaning of what was required, rather than words that more accurately convey his or her thoughts. This is frequently due to mental laziness - an unwillingness to search for more precise language.

In many cases, a writer may simply use more words than is necessary to express his thoughts. This is the most common affliction of modern writing. In contrast, a writer rarely makes the mistake of including too few words in a sentence.

At other times, the writing may be repetitious, using different words to express the same thought. Examples include legal terms, such as null and void, aid and abet, and ways and means.

The overall effect of adding words that can be omitted without changing one's meaning is to effectively suffocate the writing and diminish its grace or strength. Avoid wordiness if your objective is fresh, clean writing that your reader will understand easily and quickly.

Here are some examples of wordiness.

Wordy - in the eventuality that
Better - if

Wordy - serves no useful purpose
Better - useless, not useful

Wordy - It is our conclusion that
Better - we conclude that

Wordy - as regards the Smith file
Better - about the Smith filet

Wordy - this is in reference to
Better - this refers to

Wordy - whether or not
Better - regardless

Wordy - at the present time
Better - now

Wordy - at a later date
Better - later

Wordy - a not inconsiderable number of
Better - many

Wordy - demonstrate a preference for
Better - prefer

Wordy- did not succeed in achieving its objective
Better - failed

Wordy - in all probability
Better - probably

Wordy - is supportive of
Better - supports

Wordy - at a later date
Better - later

Wordy - in short supply
Better - scarce

Wordy - in close proximity to
Better - near

Wordy - due to the fact that
Better - because

Wordy - leads me to the conclusion that
Better - I think that

Wordy - devoid of usefulness
Better - useless

Wordy - I have a feeling that
Better - I feel

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