Revising for Style: Wordiness

Learning Objectives

  • Identify strategies for revising for style
  • Evaluate strategies for revising for style

Sometimes writers use too many words when fewer words will appeal more to their audience and better suite their purpose. Eliminating wordiness helps all readers because it makes your ideas clear, direct, and straightforward.

Here are some common examples of wordiness to look for in your draft:

When you're writing an essay and trying to hit that 500 word limit, with a picture of canned vegetables labeled "very young small early peas."

Sentences that begin with There is or There are

Wordy Revised
There are two major experiments that the Biology Department sponsors. The Biology Department sponsors two major experiments.

Sentences with unnecessary modifiers

Wordy Revised
Two extremely famous and well-known consumer advocates spoke eloquently in favor of the proposed important legislation. Two well-known consumer advocates spoke in favor of the proposed legislation.

Sentences with unnecessary phrases that add little to the meaning

Be judicious when you use phrases such as “in terms of,” “with a mind to,” “on the subject of,” “as to whether or not,” “more or less,” “as far as…is concerned,” and similar expressions. You can usually find a more straightforward way to state your point.

Wordy Revised
As a world leader in the field of green technology, the company plans to focus its efforts in the area of geothermal energy. A report as to whether or not to use geysers as an energy source is in the process of preparation. As a world leader in green technology, the company plans to focus on geothermal energy. A report about using geysers as an energy source is in preparation.

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