Wordiness and redundancy
Generally, when checking the students’ work I try not to interfere with their style. Simple eradication of errors is enough to make them perform much better. But sometimes you need to correct their style, especially when the better expressions save a lot of words thus fit all ideas into the words limit. Getting rid of so called wordiness and redundancy may work a dream and drop your words number from e.g. 100 to 80. Just enough to prevent you from receiving penalty points for excesive wording.
Wordiness and redundancy – how to avoid
Passive voice. First thing you can easily eliminate in your writing is the passive voice. Unless it is absolutely necessary (another example of redundancy) you should use an active voice to present your ideas.
Instead of “It is believed that the new solution may save millions of lives” we can say “I believe the new […].”
Instead of “The accident was caused by the company driver” we can say “The company driver caused the accident.”
You can easily forget notorious “of”, “from”
“The total manning of the company from the Northern post of Jalalabad reached…” we can shorten to “The Jalalabad Northern post company manning reached…“
Pleonasm (a phrase that repeats itself)
CD discs or HIV virus are the most commonly misused expressions. CD has “disc” in its meaning already, exactly as HIV has “virus.“
Expletitve constructions (empty, additional expressions, usually introduced by there is/are, it is)
Instead of “there is a number of students who do not follow instructions” you can transform into “Some students do not follow instructions.“
Intensifiers. Rarely intensify anything.
Intensifiers may serve your purpose if you write speeches for a charismatic preacher. Otherwise avoid them.
If you cross out “extremely” from the clause “it is extremely important to…” does it mean that it is not important any longer?
The same concerns popular “really, very, quite, severely” etc.
To show or to show off?
Unless you want to avoid repetitions or to show off, use simpler forms/expressions at your disposal. You can present your points using “all things considered,” “as far as I’m concerned,” “because of the fact that,” “for the purpose of,” and many others or you can reduce them to one word or even none.
“Because of the fact that the soldiers did not follow orders, the court…” bears the same meaning as “because the soldiers did […].“
Wordiness and redundancy – exercises
If you have problems with the excess of words in your papers, here are the exercises for you. Try to change the example sentences and expressions into the shorter ones. You can download these exercises and answers in one file from the field below the article.
Rewrite the underlined fragments to eliminate wordiness and make them more concise. Make the exact number of words indicated in the brackets.
- In reply to the letter from you… (2)
- At the moment, we do not have any meetings scheduled. (1)
- I suggest diving the programme into two parts: theoretical and practical one. (5)
- During the theoretical part we will describe… (5)
- A meeting was scheduled on weekly basis… (5)
- Another problem that has been revealed was connected with security of the people. (3), (3)
- Depending on your preference, other projects can also be supported. (3)
- It has been agreed that the Polish representation will consist of… (2)
- The copies of ID cards have to be provided. (3)
- This will be clarified during the next teleconference. (6)
- …may lead to their own brands to be more recognizable. (4)
- …will need to decrease the funds for the other branches. (4)
- One of the best solutions to make their own market to be more effective is to launch the cooperation between them and other European military industrial companies (3)
- We can strengthen the Polish military industry and in consequence enhance the European safety. (2)
- You can fill it in a completely unanimous way. (1)
- In spite of the fact that the Polish government… (1)
- Due to the fact that the modern tanks feature… (1)
- This strategy has a tendency to promote local warlords. (1)
Eliminate redundant words. Cross them out.
- We need to cooperate together.
- This absolutely phenomenal piece of equipment…
- A liaison officer who is responsible for…
- A total number of 14 APCs…
- With the close proximity of…
- Exactly the same number of soldiers…
- New innovations will move our industry forward.
- Let me summarize briefly…
- There is no doubt that the recent actions…
- We also have ATM machines inside the base.
- There are twenty-five companies which have already expressed a desire to join the program.
- As far as I’m concerned, there is no need for further enhancement of the base.
- The Ministry is already in the process of reviewing the Memorandum.
- I suggest that the Coy Cdr should arrive 5 minutes earlier.