Presentation on theme: "AVOIDING WORDINESS! Material from the Bedford Handbook."— Presentation transcript:
AVOIDING WORDINESS! Material from the Bedford Handbook
What is a wordy sentence? A long sentence is not necessarily wordy. A short sentence is not necessarily concise. “ A sentence is wordy if it can be tightened without loss of meaning” (Bedford handbook, p.206)
Eliminate Redundancies Redundancies are important in speech, but distracting in writing. “Twenty-somethings are often thought of or stereotyped as apathetic.” “Daniel is now employed at a private rehabilitation center working as a registered physical therapist” “Sylvia very hurriedly scribbled her name on a napkin” “Joel was determined in his mind to lose weight.”
Avoid unnecessary repetition of words Repetition can add unity and emphasis (e.g., for parallelism), but unnecessary repetition is awkward: “Our fifth patient, in room 6, is a mentally ill patient.” “The best teachers help each student to become a better student both academically and emotionally.”
Cut out empty and inflated phrases! An “empty” phrase is one that can be eliminated with little or no loss of meaning (e.g., “in my opinion” and “it seems that”). An “inflated” phrase is a long phrase that can just as easily be stated in 1-2 words.
Examples of inflated phrases InflatedConcise Along the lines of/in the nature of As a matter of fact At all times At the present time/at this point in time By means of For the purpose of Because of the fact that/by virtue of the fact that/due to the fact that/in light of the fact that Like In fact Always now/currently By For Because
Simplify the structure (part 1) If the structure is “needlessly indirect” try to simplify it. Words like “is/are/was” and “there is/are” often generate extra words. “Sally is responsible for monitoring and balancing the budgets.” Strengthen verbs “There is another module that tells the story of Charles Darwin.”
Simplify the structure (Part 2) Use active voice if it expresses your meaning just as well “All too often, athletes with marginal skills have been recruited by our coaches.” Reduce clauses We took a side trip to Vermillion, which was the hometown of Sandra McCoy. For her birthday she received a skirt made of silk.
Practice tightening the following sentences: It is a fact that Adam Smith wanted to find a theory that would explain how the economic world functions. Adam smith searched for a theory to explain how the economic world functions. It seems that after many years of study and then years of writing, he published a book that was called The Wealth of Nations. After many years of study and writing, he published The Wealth of Nations.
Practice tightening the following sentences: This lengthy, protracted book had in the neighbourhood of a thousand pages, and those pages included a 63- page index. This lengthy book had about a thousand pages, including a 63-page index. The full and complete title of his book indicates the comprehensive, all-inclusive scope of the book: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. The title of his book indicates its scope: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
Practice tightening the following sentences: Smith believed that there are certain, basic, essential economic laws in existence and that these laws work to the benefit of everyone if people “let the market alone.” Smith believed that certain essential economic laws work to the benefit of everyone if people “let the market alone.” He believed that something along the lines of an “invisible hand” guides economics. He believed that an “invisible hand” guides economics.