‘Wordiness’ is when you use too many words to make your point. Professors frown upon wordiness in academic English. In today’s post, I’ll show you how to remove redundant words and reduce wordiness in turn.
There is sometimes a misconception among ESL learners that long sentences are more formal. In turn, many ESL learners believe long sentences are more suitable for academic writing. However, this not true. In fact, when an ESL learner writes unusually long sentences, they can often be difficult to comprehend!
Examples: Reducing Wordiness
Consider the following examples. Which of these four sentences is most preferred in academic writing?
A. Fortunately, some 70 years ago and shortly after the atrocities of the second world war, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or UDHR for short, was signed off by most of the then member countries in the United Nations General Assembly at that time, so that the UN’s newly proposed UDHR was, in turn, adopted in the month of December in 1948.
B. Fortunately, shortly after the atrocities of the second world war, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly with the approval of a majority of the then member countries in the month of December in 1948.
C. Fortunately, shortly after the atrocities of the second world war, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948.
D. Fortunately, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948.
Answer: Reducing Wordiness
So, did you answer D above? If yes, then you are correct. Example sentences A, B and C above all have too many redundant words.
In fact, the first two examples above (A and B) are so wordy that the point of those sentences is clouded by all the unnecessary words. Don’t you agree? Because the last two examples (C and D) are more direct to the point, they are easier to comprehend.
Tip for Decreasing Wordiness
Redundant words are those words which are not necessary. They increase the wordiness of your sentences.
Sadly, using too many redundant words may convey an impression to your professor that you were struggling to reach the required minimum word count when you wrote your assignment. They can also cloud the main point of your sentence.
Therefore, attempt to remove all the redundant words from all of your sentences. Focus on how many points or ideas you can add to your thesis and increase your word count that way instead of just adding more words.
Task: Reduce the Wordiness by Removing the Redundant Words
Now it’s your turn. Remove all the redundant words from the following sentences to make them less wordy and more suitable for academic English.
1. It is widely accepted that the region of Southeast Asia is a large geographical area which consists of many countries that are located to the south of the East Asian nations of China and Japan, to the east of the South Asian nations of India and Bangladesh, to the west of the largely tribal nation of Papua New Guinea and to the north of the Commonwealth of Australia.
2. Unfortunately, and it is with great dismay, that we can find that many of the developing countries in the world these days (and in the past too actually) typically or commonly have really very low levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene, which is also widely referred to in research as WASH or WaSH (i.e. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene), for their people.
3. The countries, nations or states on the African continent which are fortunate enough to have achieved high growth rates (that is, relative to the other African states and also other developing nations in general around the world) are those ones which have typically had more stable governments and been more stable in terms of their politics in general.
Possible Answers: Reduce the Wordiness by Removing the Redundant Words
Here are my suggested answers. Note that other answers may be possible
1. Southeast Asia consists of countries located south of China and Japan, east of India and Bangladesh, west of Papua New Guinea and north of Australia.
2. Unfortunately, developing countries typically have very low levels of access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
3. The African states which have achieved high growth rates are those which have been politically stable.
This article was proofread with Grammarly.