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Wordiness Part 1 NEC FACET Center. What is Wordiness? Writers should use only those words needed to fulfill their purpose. Extra words create a wordy.

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Presentation on theme: "Wordiness Part 1 NEC FACET Center. What is Wordiness? Writers should use only those words needed to fulfill their purpose. Extra words create a wordy."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wordiness Part 1 NEC FACET Center

2 What is Wordiness? Writers should use only those words needed to fulfill their purpose. Extra words create a wordy style.

3 Unnecessary words turn a paper into a thicket and make readers tired from struggling to make their way from one point to the next.

4 Advice on Wordiness Ernest Hemingway once advised, Cross out every other word. While an exaggeration, this advice makes a valid point about wasted words.

5 Effects of Wordiness Wordy writing not only confuses readers but also bores them. Writers seem to focus more on trying to impress readers with their intelligence than on conveying a clear idea or feeling.

6 Do not confuse conciseness and brevity. A short piece of writing can be wordy. A lengthy piece of writing can be concise.

7 Conciseness doesnt refer to length. It refers to covering your subject fully in the fewest possible words. Omit unnecessary words; dont omit important facts and details.

8 Types of Wordiness Circumlocutions It is Constructions Weakening Intensifiers Vague Expressions Redundancy

9 Circumlocutions Circumlocutions are a round about way of saying something--a way adding nothing to the sense and clouding up what clarity there is, as Aristotle said.

10 Example of Circumlocution In order to Which word could replace in order to? because since if to I think about perhaps then to

11 Exercise The day after today Which word could replace the day after today? since because then about yesterday tomorrow today if tomorrow

12 Exercise Identify the circumlocution in the following sentence. Concerning the matter of civil rights, the aging Sojourner Truth asserted, I have been forty years a slave and forty years free, and would be here forty years more to have equal rights for all.

13 Exercise Identify the circumlocution in the following sentence Identify the circumlocution in the following sentence. Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury; signifying nothing, said the character Macbeth during the course of Shakespeares famous play.

14 Exercise Identify the circumlocution in the following sentence. Adolf Hitler was of the opinion that The great mass of people... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one. believed

15 Redundancy Redundancy, a second common form of wordiness, consists of unnecessary repetition.Redundancy, a second common form of wordiness, consists of unnecessary repetition. Example: The big, huge, large, gigantic elephant big large huge gigantic

16 Caution classify all repetition as redundancy.DONT classify all repetition as redundancy. Repetition sometimes emphasizes a point and results in strong, memorable wording.Repetition sometimes emphasizes a point and results in strong, memorable wording.

17 Example of Strong Repetition During World War II, British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill spoke the following stirring words to the House of Commons, encouraging his countrys citizens to resist Nazi attacks.

18 Churchills Comments We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds. We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

19 Example of Redundancy Attitude of despair, attitude of confusion, feeling of happiness. Drop attitude or feeling. Despair, hope, happiness are always attitudes or feelings.

20 Example of Redundancy green in color, round in shape, smooth in texture, ten pounds in weight. Drop in color, in shape, and in texture, in weight as these ideas are already obvious.

21 More Examples biography of her life autobiography of his life Omit of his life and of her life as biographies and autobiographies always tell someones life story.

22 More Examples must necessarily final outcome true facts Omit necessarily, final, and true Must, by itself, shows the necessity. Outcomes are all final. Facts are all true.

23 Some Final Examples qualified expert inexperienced novice new innovation Omit qualified, inexperienced, and new, for by definition, all experts, novices, and innovations possess those characteristics.

24 Identify the redundancy Jim Giles is an experienced veteran meteorologist.

25 Identify the redundancy From ancient Greek mythology came the old idea that the sun was the golden chariot of Apollo crossing the sky each day.

26 Weakening Intensifiers The useless weakening intensifier creates a third type of wordiness.

27 Writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau once admitted using many words for the sake of emphasis which add nothing to the force of the sentences, and he added that sentences look relieved the moment I have cancelled the words.

28 Examples of Weakening Intensifiers Like Thoreau, many of us use words such as the following to make our meaning stronger: very so rather quite

29 Example of Weakening Intensifier I am truly trying to overcome my dislike of Shakespeare. Truly reduces the force of trying and may make the reader wonder, Who is he trying to convince: me or himself?

30 Think before adding intensifiers to your writing. They are generally unnecessary and frequently detrimental.

31 Learning to Make Your Writing More Concise Part 2

32 It Is Constructions Another form of wordiness occurs when writers use it is, this is, there is, and there are at the beginning of sentences and clauses.

33 Example This is a quotation from Poor Richards Almanac that suggests Benjamin Franklins style: Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half-shut afterwards.

34 How would you revise? There are some anthropologists who believe the human race is not instinctively aggressive but instinctively cooperative.

35 How would you revise? This is a quotation from Mark Twain that discloses his disillusionment with humankind: Man is the only animal that blushes, or needs to.

36 How would you revise? This is a painting which shows that nineteenth-century landscape painters revered nature.

37 Unnecessary To Be Forms Along with revising unnecessary there is, there are, it is type constructions, writers can also reduce wordiness by reducing the overall number of to be verbs.

38 What are To Be Verbs? To be verbs include words such as the following: –am, is, are –was, were –will be, would be, could be, should be –has been, have been, had been –would have been, could have been, should have been

39 Identify the wordy to be construction. The portrait is a distortion of Franklin Delano Roosevelts features.distorts

40 Identify the wordy to be construction. Nathaniel Hawthornes shock at undraped Roman statuary is a manifestation of his prudery. manifests

41 Vague Expressions Unnecessary words and phrases and vague, general words and phrases create a sixth form of wordiness.

42 Unnecessary Words & Phrases Writers would do best to dispose of the words and phrases on the next screen. They are waste words, which add nothing but clutter to the sentences.

43 Examples of Waste Words virtually basically significantly fundamentally truly in actuality nature of manner indeed rather factor aspect of

44 Identify the Waste Words. I have virtually no free time to go to a movie today. The sky is rather cloudy today. Betty does not understand the nature of men. In actuality, youll find the job easy if you follow three simple steps.

45 Vague Words In addition to eliminating unnecessary words, writers should always do their best to replace vague words with specific words.

46 Exercise paper bill money medium of exchange dollar Mentally arrange the above words in order from most general to most specific.

47 Answer medium of exchange (most general) money paper bill dollar (most specific)

48 Exercise red color primary color garnet Mentally arrange the above words in order from most general to most specific.

49 Answer color (most general) primary color red garnet (most specific)

50 Exercise philosopher Jean Paul Sartre existentialist thinker Mentally arrange the above words in order from most general to most specific.

51 Answer thinker philosopher existentialist Jean Paul Sartre

52 Identify the saying that has been rewritten in these vague terms. Winged creatures of similar species have a proclivity for group interaction. Answer: Birds of a feather flock together

53 Identify the saying that has been rewritten in these vague terms. Congenial persons make a termination hindmost. Answer: Nice guys finish last.

54 Learning to Make Your Writing More Concise Part 3

55 Pretentious Diction The 7th common form of wordiness involves pretentious, puffed-up diction. Writers sometimes use multi-syllable words, not because of their meaning, but because of their impressive sound.

56 Warning Bloated words, however, have, as Henry David Thoreau said, a paralysis in their tails. They often slow and confuse the reader.

57 Example The pugilist nonpareil, Leon Spinks, was the ultimate realization of the athletic phenomenon. Notice that the sentence contains several possible unfamiliar or abstract words that may cause difficulty.

58 For instance, not everyone knows that a pugilist is a boxer or that the French word nonpareil means unequaled or unrivaled.

59 The Cure To treat pretentious diction, you should first scrap the difficult or abstract words. Then you should state the idea simply and clearly.

60 Another Example The image was revelatory of the authors thematic intentions. Revised: The image revealed the theme.

61 Caution You neednt always use common, short words. Instead, you should express your ideas in words appropriate for your intended readers.

62 Exercise Revise the following sentence to eliminate the pretentious diction. Terminate the illumination. Turn off the light.

63 Exercise Revise the following sentence to eliminate the pretentious diction. In the winter, I assume protective neckwear. In the winter, I wear a scarf.

64 Elaborate Constructions The final common form of wordiness involves unnecessarily elaborate sentence structures. Writers sometimes use wordy prepositional phrases and dependent clauses containing ideas the writers would do better to insert in a more concise manner.

65 The Unnecessary Prepositional Phrase Example: the draft of 1776 Revision: the 1776 draft

66 Unnecessary Prepositional Phrases Example: Oliver Twist, a novel by Charles Dickens Revision: Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens novel

67 Dependent Clauses Like prepositional phrases, many dependent clauses (especially those beginning with who, which, and that) can be condensed into fewer words.

68 Example of Unnecessary Dependent Clause Aldo Leopold, who was the father of the modern conservation movement, argued that ethical behavior toward the natural world began with a sense of relatedness.

69 Example of Unnecessary Dependent Clause Aldo Leopold, who was the father of the modern conservation movement, argued that ethical behavior toward the natural world began with a sense of relatedness.

70 Begin using these tips to reduce wordiness, and your writing will flourish.


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