Writing Concise Sentences

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Sentence Empowerment

Sentence Empowerment

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  • 1. WRITING CONCISE SENTENCES
  • 2.
    • A sentence is not concise simply because it is short; a concise sentence contains only the number of words necessary to achieve its effect or to make its point.
  • 3. Eliminating Nonessential Words
    • One way to find out which words are essential to the meaning of a sentence is to underline the key words. Then, look carefully at the remaining words so that you can see which are unnecessary and delete them.
  • 4. Nonessential Word Categories:
    • Deadwood
    • Utility Words
    • Circumlocution
  • 5. Deadwood
    • Unnecessary phrases that take up space and add nothing to meaning.
  • 6. Example of Deadwood
    • Wordy: There were many factors that influenced his decision to become a teacher.
    • Concise: Many factors influenced his decision to become a teacher.
  • 7. Another Example of Deadwood
    • Wordy: They played a softball game that was exhausting.
    • Concise: They played an exhausting softball game.
  • 8. Some familiar expressions that are Deadwood
    • I feel
    • I think
    • It seems to me
    • All things considered
    • Without a doubt
    • It is important to note
    • In my opinion
    • The reason why
    • In conclusion
  • 9.
    • Deadwood distracts, annoys the reader and weakens your writing style.
    • Eliminate and empower.
  • 10. Utility Words
    • Fillers that contribute nothing to a sentence.
  • 11. Examples of Utility Words to Eliminate or Replace
    • Nouns with imprecise meanings:
    • Factor
    • Situation
    • Kind
    • Type
    • Aspect
    • Sort
    • Area
  • 12. Common Adverbs Denoting Degree
    • Basically
    • Very
    • Definitely
    • Quite
    • Eliminate and Empower
  • 13. Circumlocution
    • Taking a roundabout way to say something (using ten words when five will do) is called Circumlocution.
  • 14. Circumlocution Remedy
    • Instead of using complicated phrases and rambling constructions, you should use concrete, specific words and phrases and come right to the point.
  • 15. Other Weak Sentence Issues:
    • Use of unnecessary repetition of same word or phrase
    • Creating run-on sentences that make the reader go “whew!”
    • Creating fragmented sentences that are incomplete and ineffectual.
  • 16. Word Choice
    • Your choice of diction must be appropriate to your audience.
    • College-level research papers, an examination, or a report calls for the use of Formal diction.
    • Informal diction—language used in daily conversation. Should be used in college writing to imitate speech or dialect or give a paper a conversational tone—used in personal-experience writing.
  • 17. Choosing the Right Word
    • Watch out for overused phrases or words—Cliches
    • Watch out for pretentious diction—inappropriate and elevated words.
    • Use concrete words, rather than abstract words whenever possible.
  • 18. Abstract Word Examples
    • Beauty
    • Truth
    • Good
    • Nice
    • Great
    • Terrific
    • All refer to ideas, qualities, or conditions that cannot be perceived by the senses.
  • 19. Concrete Words
    • Convey a vivid picture by naming things that readers can see, hear, taste, smell, or touch.
    • The more concrete your words and phrases, the more vivid the image you evoke in the reader.
  • 20. Avoid Biased Language
    • Offensive labels referring to a racial, ethnic, gender, or religious group turns off any reader.
    • Avoid offensive labels referring to age, class, geography, occupation, marital status, physical ability or sexual orientation.
  • 21. And Finally, A Quote…
    • “ A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.” William Strunk