- 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 orderTo 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.
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 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.
an additionala 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
endresult of the campaign.
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
Our hotel room’s view was very pretty.
→ Our hotel room’s view was
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 scaryterrifying movie.
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.
ofthe 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 uponaffects the growth of flowers.
During the course of winter, energy bills collectively rise because people rely on their heaters.
the course ofwinter, 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:
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.