How to Write Concise Sentences?

Importance of short sentences was a post I had written previously. It gives you some tips to make your sentences more concise. In fact, concise sentences prove to be more powerful and expressive than long rumbling ones. Here, we will see some more ways to make sentences shorter.

Redundant Elements

There are a number of elements which you may wish to remove from your sentences. See these examples.

12 noon, 12 midnight, 5 pm in the evening, etc: Instead of them, why not write ‘noon’, ‘midnight’, and ‘5 in the evening’.

Using absolutely, totally, completely, etc: Don’t say “something is absolutely excellent”. Using just ‘excellent’ is enough.

A total of: Don’t use “I found a total of 50 students in the class.” Just say ‘50 students’.

Close proximity: Proximity itself means closeness. So, cut out ‘close’.

Each and every: Only one of them is enough.

End result: Just use ‘result’.

Exactly the same: Cut out ‘exactly’.

Free gift: A gift itself is a free giveaway.

The fact that: Don’t say sentences like “The fact that he is a bachelor makes us nervous”. Say “His bachelorhood makes us nervous.”

A period of: Don’t use this in snippets like “a period of five hours took”. Just use “five hours”.

New innovations or novelties: Just use innovations or novelties.

Personally, I think; In my personal opinion; etc: Don’t you see the redundancy clearly?

Repeat again: Repeat means ‘to do something again’.

Revert back: Revert itself means to go back.

Shorter/longer in length: Why you say ‘in length’ again?

Slow pace: Slow=speed+low then why you use ‘pace’?

Future to come: Just use future.

We are in receipt of: Funny isn’t it? Just use “we received”.

In the event that: Replace with ‘if’.

Actual fact: Fact is anything that actually happened.

My own: Why do you use ‘own’ again?

These are the major redundant elements in writing. Make sure you avoid them, and replace them with the correct usages given.

Length Due to Ignorance

Sometimes the writers make their sentences very long due to their lack of vocabulary. This is the reason behind such sentences as:

The students in the second year of college were responsible for the strike.

Rewritten, the sentence will be:

The sophomores were responsible for the strike.

See how much space advantage we have due to using that word, sophomore. In order for you to write such real short sentences, you should enhance your vocabulary.

More examples:

The doctor injected him the drug to make him sleepy.
The doctor injected him a soporific.

The main hotel assistant helped us set up our Internet connection.
The concierge helped us set up the Internet connection.

The dentist that specializes in correcting teeth problems rectified the actress’s teeth problems.
The orthodontist corrected the actress’s teeth irregularities.

SilverTube is a magazine published twice a month.
SilverTube is a fortnightly. [Don’t use ‘bimonthly’ here. A bimonthly is a confusing word, which can mean every two months or twice every month.]

Due to his fear of religious symbols, Harry found it difficult to read The Da Vinci Code.
Harry, being iconophobic, found it difficult to read The Da Vinci Code.

The DNA has a spiral-coiled architecture.
The DNA has a helical architecture.


More examples and instances where writers tend to make redundancies will be added in the coming posts. Creative writing requires you to write powerful sentences. And powerful sentences come not with redundancies.

Related Links:
Some more of redundant usages
Perfect your writing style
Some more of creative writing thoughts
Technical elements of style in literature by Robert Louis Stevenson

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

2 Opinions:

  1. mmm interesting. I'd say there are some cases in wich being redundant is even needed. The kind of blog is very important for deciding how to write it.

    Peace, P.

  2. Good post. It's really useful to improve my writing skill :)



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