Mark Twain once said, “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” Even for Twain, brevity didn’t come easy. Here are some strategies for writing more concisely.
Identify the main points: Before you start writing, make a list of the main points you want to make. This will help you focus your writing and eliminate unnecessary information.
Use strong, active verbs: Choose strong, active verbs to convey your message more effectively. This will help you avoid using unnecessary words and make your writing more concise.
Avoid unnecessary words and phrases: Be mindful of unnecessary words and phrases that add little value to your writing, such as “very,” “really,” and “in order to.”
Use bullet points: If you have a lot of information to convey, consider using bullet points to organize your thoughts and make your writing more concise.
Edit and revise: Take the time to edit and revise your writing to eliminate unnecessary words and phrases. A good rule of thumb is to try to use as few words as possible to convey your message.
Use the active voice: Using the active voice can make your writing more concise because it eliminates the need for unnecessary words. In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. For example, “The cat chased the mouse” is written in the active voice, while “The mouse was chased by the cat” is written in the passive voice.
Use contractions: Contractions, such as “don’t” and “can’t,” can help make your writing more concise and easier to read.
Eliminate filler words: Filler words, such as “um,” “ah,” and “you know,” add nothing to your writing and should be avoided.
Use concrete nouns: Instead of using abstract nouns, try to use concrete nouns that are specific and straightforward. For example, “good” is an abstract noun, while “success” is a concrete noun.
Avoid repetition: Repetition can make your writing unnecessarily long and redundant. Instead of repeating the same information, try to find new ways to say the same thing.
Use parallel structure: Using parallel structure can make your writing more concise because it eliminates the need for unnecessary words and phrases. For example, “I like to run, swim, and bike” is written in parallel structure, while “I like running, swimming, and biking” is not.
Use transitional phrases: Transitional phrases, such as “however,” “on the other hand,” and “in addition,” can help connect your ideas and make your writing more concise.
Use simple, straightforward language: Avoid using jargon or complex language that may be difficult for readers to understand. Simple, straightforward language is generally more concise and easier to read.
Use short sentences: Short sentences are generally more concise and easier to read than long, complex sentences. Try to keep your sentences to an average length of around 20 words.
Avoid long introductions: Long introductions can be unnecessary and make your writing more verbose. Instead, try to get straight to the point and focus on the main points of your writing.
Use concrete examples: Concrete examples can help illustrate your points and make your writing more concise and persuasive. Avoid using abstract examples that may be difficult for readers to understand.
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