- Remove redundancy: Don’t write "in the month of December" when "in December" gets the same message across. Other redundancies include "a period of one week," "blue in color" and "shorter in length." We get the point without all the extra words.
- Use adverbs sparingly: "It was extremely unpleasant" doesn't add more information than the simpler "it was unpleasant."
- Replace phrases with words: A more concise way of saying "people who are experienced at traveling" is to say "experienced travelers."
- Get rid of "there is" and "there are": These are the weakest ways to start a sentence, and you can often achieve more concise writing by switching the sentence around. For example, "there are two cats and a dog at the street corner" can be changed to "two cats and a dog sit at the street corner."
- Use possessives: Turn the phrase "a story written by Mark Twain" into "Mark Twain’s story." Also, remove "of" whenever possible. For example, the "corner of the street" is the "street corner" and the "pitch of the roof" is the "roof’s pitch."
- Don’t smother your verbs: Verb smothering, more technically known as nominalization, uses a phrase where a single word is appropriate. For example "the man gave a report on the incident" could more concisely be said "the man reported the incident."
- Eliminate meaningless phrases: "In this day and age," "quite frankly," "happens to be," "all things considered" and numerous other phrases provide no value to your writing. Trim your sentences to eliminate them.
Avoid clichés: "Chomping at the bit," "in the nick of time," "the calm before the storm" "it is important to note,
and other phrases add little meaning . They pad your word count, but if your goal is concise writing, avoid them.
For more tips on employing concise writing techniques, contact
Hurley Write, Inc.