Friday, July 18, 2008

(16) Wordiness

A stylistic guideline that is nearly universally recognized is the pursuit of conciseness in writing; in other words, writers should strive to use as few words as possible to express an idea. [EDIT]

Writers can never go wrong if they keep as a primary goal concise writing. Being concise means drafting writing that does not waste words, but “concise” does not mean “short.” Instead, concision is a concern for precise language. A well-written novel of 800 pages can be concise, while a four-sentence email can be wordy.

Some guidelines to wordy habits can help you create elegant writing that is concise:

Avoid: “the fact that,” “when it comes to,” “all of a sudden,” “a person who,” “in this day and time,” “off of,” “the type of person that”

William Strunk Jr.—noted for his conservative and brief statement on the use of the English language, The Elements of Style—states: “A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”

Consult these on-line resources for more help: