Monthly Archives: January 2017

How to be more concise in academic writing: a quick fix

Do you have a problem with wordiness in academic writing? Do you want your writing to be more concise and easier to read?

Make this one change: Use More Verbs. Here’s how you do it.

  1. Look at one section of your writing at a time.
  2. Highlight the main verb in each sentence. Usually you’ll see words like: shows, is, does, makes, are, etc. These verbs are vague: they tell me NOTHING about what is happening.
  3. Look at one sentence now. If the verb does not give a clear action, ask yourself what action you are trying to show. Here’s a simple example: Variable A shows an increase over time. The verb is shows. The action is increases.
  4. Change the boring, empty verb to a precise verb┬áthat shows the action. In the example above, you need to change the noun (an increase) to a verb (increases). Now you’ve got Variable A increases over time.
  5. Repeat! Add precise verbs everywhere. You cannot overdo it.

In summary: change the nouns in your sentences to verbs. You’ll reduce wordiness and add clarity.

 

 

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