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Concise Writing and Revision. **Thanks to the Purdue OWL. What is concise writing?. Using fewer, more effective words to get across your main point Replace vague words with more specific, powerful words Global v. Local Revision. Vague v. Specific Writing.

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Concise Writing and Revision

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Concise writing and revision

Concise Writing and Revision

**Thanks to the Purdue OWL

What is concise writing

What is concise writing?

  • Using fewer, more effective words to get across your main point

  • Replace vague words with more specific, powerful words

  • Global v. Local Revision

Vague v specific writing

Vague v. Specific Writing

  • WORDY: Working as someone who flips burgers was an experience that really helped me learn a lot. (16 words)

  • CONCISE: Working as a burger flipper was an educational experience. (9 words)

Delete unnecessary words

Delete unnecessary words

  • WORDY: The teacher demonstrated some of the various ways and methodsfor cutting words from my essay that I had written for class. (22 words)

  • CONCISE: The teacher demonstrated methods for cutting words from my essay. (10 words)

Combine sentences

Combine Sentences

  • Wordy: The supposed crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico aroused interest in extraterrestrial life. This crash is rumored to have occurred in 1947. (24 words)

  • Concise: The supposed 1947 crash of a UFO in Roswell, New Mexico aroused interest in extraterrestrial life. (16 words)

Eliminate obvious words or excessive detail

Eliminate obvious words or excessive detail

  • WORDY: Imagine a mental picture of someone engaged in the intellectual activity of trying to learn what the rules are for how to play the game of chess. (27 words)

  • CONCISE: Imagine someone trying to learn the rules of chess. (9 words)

Eliminate filler words

Eliminate “filler” words

  • WORDY: For all intents and purposes, American industrial productivity generally depends on certain factors that are really more psychological in kind than of any given technological aspect. (26 words)

  • CONCISE: American industrial productivity depends more on psychological than on technological factors. (11 words)

Typical filler words to avoid

Typical “filler” words to avoid:







  • Kind of

  • Sort of

  • Type of

  • Really

  • Basically

  • For all intents and purposes

Omit repetitive wording

Omit Repetitive Wording

  • WORDY: Her father considered the “text-friendly” mittens an unneeded luxury.

  • CONCISE: Her father considered the “text-friendly” mittens a luxury.

Examples of redundant pairs

Examples of “Redundant Pairs”

  • Past memories

  • Various differences

  • Each individual ____

  • Basic fundamentals

  • True facts

  • Important essentials

  • Future plans

  • Terrible tragedy

  • End result

  • Final outcome

  • Free gift

  • Past history

  • Unexpected surprise

  • Sudden crisis

Examples of redundant categories

Examples of “Redundant Categories”

  • Large in size

  • Often times

  • Heavy in weight

  • Period in time

  • Round in shape

  • Honest in character

  • Unusual in nature

  • Extreme in degree

  • Of a strange type

  • Of cheap quality

  • Of an uncertain condition

WORDY: During that time period, many car buyers preferred cars that were pink in color and shiny in appearance. (18 words)

CONCISE: During that period, many car buyers preferred pink, shiny cars. (10 words)

Change phrases into single words and adjectives

Change phrases into single-words and adjectives

  • WORDY: The employee with ambition… (4 words)

  • CONCISE: The ambitious employee… (3 words)

  • WORDY: The department showing the best performance…(6 words)

  • CONCISE: The best-performing department…(4 words)

Change unnecessary that who and which clauses into phrases

Change unnecessary “that,” “who,” and “which” clauses into phrases

  • WORDY: The report, which was recently released…(6 words)

  • CONCISE: The recently released report… (4 words)

  • WORDY: All applicants who are interested in the job must…(9 words)

  • CONCISE: All job applicants must…(4 words)

Avoid the passive voice


  • Change all passive verbs to active

  • WORDY: The beer was consumed by Santa Claus. (7 words)

  • CONCISE: Santa Claus consumed the beer. (5 words)

Avoid using noun forms of verbs

Avoid using noun forms of verbs

  • WORDY: The function of this department is the collection of funds.

  • CONCISE: This department collects funds.

Avoid unnecessary infinitive phrases

Avoid unnecessary infinitive phrases

  • WORDY: The duty of a police officer is to arrest unlawful citizens and to put them in jail.

  • CONCISE: Police officers arrests and jails unlawful citizens.

Use direct expressions


  • WORDY: In accordance with your request… (5 words)

  • CONCISE: As you requested… (3 words)

Ways to simplify lengthy expressions

Ways to simplify lengthy expressions:

  • The reason for…

  • For the reason that…

  • Owing/due to the fact that…

  • In light of the fact that…

  • Considering the fact that…

  • On the grounds that…

  • This is why….

= “Because”

= “Since”

= “Why”

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