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Dr. Linda Bergmann, Professor of English, Purdue University Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab Conciseness of Language: Further.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr. Linda Bergmann, Professor of English, Purdue University Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab Conciseness of Language: Further."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr. Linda Bergmann, Professor of English, Purdue University Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab Conciseness of Language: Further Applications

2 Conciseness and Choice When writing, shorter is often clearer: For Example: There was a lack of evidence on their part in support of their claim. Their claim suffered because of their lack of evidence in its support. They could not support their claim because they lacked evidence.

3 Clarity and Choice Which is clearer? Estimation of peak inflow rates for the sewer system will involve utilization of an evaluation technique developed by Richard J. Nojai in the early 1980’s. In order to estimate peak inflow rates for the sewer system, we will use an evaluation technique developed by Richard J. Nojai in the early 1980’s. Peak inflow rates for the sewer system will be estimated using an evaluation technique developed by Richard J. Nojai in the early 1980’s.

4 Fixed Sentence Elements: Your sentence must have a: Subject, Verb, (and Object) Movable Story Elements: Your sentence may have a: Character/agent/doer, Action, and Receiver/goal Clarity and Conciseness Work Together

5 1. Effective sentences tell a story: “People do things.” 2. In the most readable sentences, the key story elements— character and action—correspond to the key sentence elements—the subject and verb. These “S-V-O” sentences also tend to be more concise. 3. Look at the verbs first, and, unless you have a good reason not to, express the crucial actions as verbs. 4. Express central characters as the subjects of verbs. 5. Put “old information” before “new information” as you move from sentence to sentence. Review: Five Principles for Effective Sentences

6 Character----Action---[ ] Actions can be found in: Verbs: use, prove, evaluate, reject Nouns: use, utilization, proof, evaluation, rejection Other parts of speech: usable, usability, evaluative, provable Characters can be found in nouns and other parts of speech (parental, their, my) or may be missing altogether. Movable Story Elements

7 Nominalizations - verbs into nouns: Investigate  investigation Discover  discovery Perform  performance Impair  impairment To change  a change Nominalizations in action: The data are proof of the thesis. There was committee agreement. The investigation revealed three serious flaws in the construction of the bridge. Nominalizations Sometimes Increase Empty Words

8 Remember the third rule of effective sentences: look at the verbs first, and, unless you have a good reason not to, express actions as verbs. “Weak” Sentence Examples: There was a lack of evidence on their part in support of their claim. Estimation of peak inflow rates for the sewer system will involve utilization of an evaluation technique developed by Richard J. Nojai in the early 1980’s. Dr. Smith was forced to acknowledge his mistake by the attorney. Work with Verbs

9 Also remember the fourth rule of clarity: Express central characters as the subjects of verbs. Practice: Their proposal for the rule was without substantial reason. If this objective cannot be met with the current documentation, then revision and improvement of the manual are needed. To find the characters, ask who is doing—or not doing—what to whom? Work with Verbs (cont.)

10 You should only rarely use a phrase or clause when a single word will do: In a time-efficient manner = quickly Due to the fact that = because In most cases = usually At the same time as = while, during Subsequent to = after In the event that = if Eliminate Unnecessary Words

11 Eliminate words and phrases that do not carry much meaning: It is widely known that the engineers at Sandia Labs have become active participants in Search and Rescue operations in most years. In most years, engineers at Sandia Labs have actively participated in Search and Rescue operations. Original word count: 22, New word count: 15. Eliminate Unnecessary Words

12 Combine sentences to cut unnecessary repetition: Results of the field tests showed that weather conditions accelerated road wear in a surprisingly short amount of time. Results of the tests revealed that weather conditions reduced surface quality of concrete more quickly than asphalt. (36 words) Results of field tests showed that weather conditions accelerated road wear rapidly and reduced surface quality of concrete more quickly than asphalt. (22 words)

13 Use the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same importance: Words and phrases Forms Clauses Lists Parallelism

14 Words connected by “and” must be of the same part of speech: This report will discuss road repairs in terms of efficiency, of them being reliable, and if the repairs are costly. vs. This report will discuss road repairs in terms of efficiency, reliability, and cost. Parallelism: Words

15 Try revising the following: This report will discuss road repairs in terms of efficiency, how reliable they may be, and whether the cost is compatible with the current budget. These road repairs are expected to last for three years and for reliability and cost effectiveness over longer periods of time. Practice

16 With the -ing form (gerund) of words: Example: The construction manager established a protocol that includes reviewing plans every morning, asking questions at stated intervals, and summarizing work at the end of the day. With infinitive phrases: Example: A daily protocol was established to review plans, (to) field questions, and (to) summarize work. Parallelism: Phrases

17 Do not mix forms: Not Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and in a detailed manner. Parallel: The production manager was asked to write his report quickly, accurately, and thoroughly. OR The production manager was asked to write a detailed report quickly and accurately. Parallelism: Forms

18 A parallel structure that begins with clauses must continue using clauses. Not Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game. Parallel: The coach told the players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too much, and that they should do some warm-up exercises before the game. Parallelism: Clauses

19 Be sure to keep all the elements in a list in the same form. Not Parallel: The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to find word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and looking up irregular verbs. Parallel: The dictionary can be used for these purposes: to look up word meanings, pronunciations, correct spellings, and irregular verbs. Parallelism: Lists

20 Use your handout to practice revising for conciseness: There are various alternatives for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) rehabilitation techniques. Some of these techniques are commonly used in Indiana. These are: overlay, crack-and-seat with overlay, break-and-seat with overlay, and total reconstruction. The selection of alternatives primarily depends on the pavement type and its existing condition. Among these alternatives, HMA overlays rubblized PCC is considered to be the most common type of PCC rehabilitation. In this technique, the concrete PCC slab is reduced in-place to approximately aggregate base material size. (80 Words) Practice Examples

21 Sample Revision: In Indiana, some common techniques for Portland Cement Concrete (PCC) rehabilitation are overlay, crack-and-seat with overlay, break-and-seat with overlay, and total reconstruction. Which alternative is selected depends on the type of pavement and its condition. The most common technique of PCC rehabilitation is HMA overlays on rubblized PCC. In this technique, the concrete PCC slab is reduced in place to approximately the size of aggregate base material. (68 words) Practice Examples

22 Use your handout to practice revising for conciseness: NDT is the most popular method in the pavement evaluation and overlay because of its advantages of low operational cost, short test duration and full scale model testing. Falling Weight Deflectometers (FWD) are widely used to evaluate the structural properties of pavements nondestructively. Backcalculation of pavement properties from FWD data is usually carried out by matching the measured deflections under a known load with theoretical deflections generated by an analytical model of the pavement by varying the elastic moduli. Such procedures usually use error minimization techniques to minimize either the absolute or the squared error, with or without weighing factors. (100 words) Practice Examples

23 Use your handout to practice revising for conciseness: For decades, numerous backcalculation computer programs have determined layer moduli. Most of these programs are based on iteration techniques, which repeatedly use a forward analysis method within an iterative process. The layer moduli are repeatedly adjusted until a suitable match between the calculated and measured deflection basins is obtained. A number of computer programs, such as BISDEF (Bush, 1985), BOUSDEF (Roesset, 1995), CHEVDEF (Bush, 1980), and COMCOMP (Irwin, 1994), have been developed for back-calculation analysis using this method. (178 words) Practice Examples

24 Purdue University Writing Lab Heavilon 226 Web: Phone: (765) Where to Go to Get More Help

25 The End CONCISENESS OF LANGUAGE: FURTHER APPLICATIONS Adapted by Allen Brizee and Dr. Linda Bergmann from the “Little Red Schoolhouse” by Dr. Joseph Williams (U of Chicago) and Dr. Gregory Colomb (U of Virginia) Brought to you in cooperation with the Purdue Online Writing Lab


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