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Concise writing

How do I make my academic writing more concise?

Conciseness, or the ability to convey meaning in just a few words, is important in academic writing. Not only will it help you stick to assigned word limits, it will also help with clarity.

The following tips will help you write more concisely, whether you’re working on a journal article or thesis:

  1. Focus on the main message

Think before you write each sentence or paragraph. This way, you will leave out unnecessary words. Identifying the main message also saves words for the most important parts of your work, such as a detailed description of your methodology, a thorough report of your results, and a critical discussion of your findings.

  1. Avoid repetition

This especially applies across sections of your text, where you might find yourself reiterating elements of your work. Some repetition is fine and even desirable, but not of entire chunks of text. Consider combining sections or cutting irrelevant bits when possible.

  1. Eliminate wordiness

Excessive hedging (e.g. ‘this might perhaps suggest’), verbosity and redundancy can cost you a lot of words. These are very common, and include phrases such as:

  • due to the fact that (because)
  • with regard/respect to (concerning, regarding)
  • at the present time (currently)
  • in spite of the fact that (although)collaborate together (collaborate)
  • connect / join together (connect / join)
  • comparatively smaller than (smaller than)conduct an investigation into (investigate)
  • give an indication of (indicate)
  • to draw a conclusion (to conclude)

Read more tips for concise writing here and here.

To make sure your writing is concise, use Writefull’s automated copyediting app. It gives you language feedback and writing support widgets, tailored to academic writing.