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Why Wordiness Weakens Writing

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Wordy phrases like “adequate enough” and “in order to” make your sentences too long. Here are wordiness examples and how to replace them.

Wordiness makes your sentences difficult to comprehend.
Avoiding wordiness strengthens your writing.
Avoiding Wordiness
  • Wordiness is when a sentence contains words that make it longer than it needs to be.
  • Editing for conciseness is one of the best ways to strengthen your writing.
  • A few examples of wordy phrases are absolutely essential, due to the fact that, and with regard to.

What Is Wordiness?

Wordiness is when a sentence contains words that, if removed (or replaced with a shorter alternative), convey the same message and remain grammatically correct.

In order to reach her goal, Anna worked over the weekend.
In order To reach her goal, Anna worked over the weekend.

In the sentence above, “in order to” is a wordy phrase that can be reduced to just one word: to.

As a writer, one of your goals should be to convey your message in as few words as possible. When a sentence contains unnecessary words, readers have to work harder to interpret the meaning of your sentence. You risk losing your reader’s attention with a winding sentence.

Due to the fact that it was a very sought after venue, the restaurant absolutely required a prior reservation in order to dine there on my wife’s birthday.

Because it was a very sought after venue, the restaurant required a reservation to dine there on my wife’s birthday.

Removing unnecessary words makes your writing more direct.
If you can convey the same message in fewer words, do so.

How To Fix Wordiness

There are different types of wordiness. In all cases, improving your writing requires you to shorten wordy phrases or replace them with more concise alternatives.

Redundant Phrases

Redundant phrases contain words that say the same thing twice. When one of the words is removed, the sentence still makes sense. Sometimes the sentence has to be slightly restructured, but the message remains the same. Here are a few examples:

Add an additional cup of pudding to the recipe if you desire more moist cupcakes.
→ Add an additional a cup of pudding to the recipe if you desire more moist cupcakes.
The CEO was not happy with the end result of the campaign.
→ The CEO was not happy with the end result of the campaign.

Unnecessary Intensifiers

Often, intensifiers like really and very are unnecessary and have alternatives that make the sentence shorter. For example:

The new dog at the shelter was malnourished and really hungry.
→ The new dog at the shelter was malnourished and really hungry starving.
Our hotel room’s view was very pretty.
→ Our hotel room’s view was very pretty beautiful.
It was Halloween, so we were in the mood to watch a really scary movie.
→ It was Halloween, so we were in the mood to watch a really scary terrifying movie.

Long Expressions

There are many common expressions that are unnecessarily long. Removing one (or a few) words, or using a one-word alternative, doesn’t change the meaning of the phrase whatsoever. Consider the following examples:

All of the dancers received perfect scores in the tournament.
→ All of the dancers received perfect scores in the tournament.
Some people say that music has an effect upon the growth of flowers.
→ Some people say that music has an effect upon affects the growth of flowers.
During the course of winter, energy bills collectively rise because people rely on their heaters.
During the course of winter, energy bills collectively rise because people rely on their heaters.

It is worth nothing that some writers consider wordiness to be using uncommon or extremely advanced words when there are common, simpler words available. An important tip to improve your writing is to know your audience. Don’t use vocabulary that your readers wouldn’t be familiar with.

Mr. Johnson desired to bestow an exceptional award to the new employee to evince that he was a generous boss.
→ Mr. Johnson wanted to give an exceptional award to the new employee to show that he was a generous boss.

More Wordiness Examples

Wordiness is common and can make its way into our everyday writing (and speech). The best way to avoid it is to familiarize yourself with it and learn the more concise alternatives. Here are a few more examples of wordy phrases:

Wordy Phrases
Advance notice → notice
Definitely required → required
All across → across
Any and all → all
Based in large part on → based on
Come to a realization → realize
Due to the fact → because, since
Morning sunrise → sunrise
Grow in size → grow
In spite of → despite
Intertwine together → intertwine

Less Is More

When it comes to writing well, less is more. Every word you use should have a purpose and progress the sentence. Wordiness weakens your writing because it clutters sentences.

While brainstorming, it’s a good idea to write every word and idea that pops into your head. However, be cautious, as this is sometimes how wordiness sneaks its way into your writing. LanguageTool can ensure your writing is concise by detecting wordy phrases, and suggesting shorter alternatives. This intelligent writing assistant can also correct spelling and grammar errors and ensure your sentences are the perfect length.


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