Concise writing — short and simple

What is concision? Simply put, it’s saying much by using few words. It is not the ultimate goal when doing your writing part of the exam, however you should consider the following: having mastered this approach you will be able to achieve the exam task more completely, to develop your ideas to their fullest and to make your text more reader-friendly – all within the same word and time limit. Concise writing does it all.

The basic idea behind concise writing is to trim your text down, to strip it of all redundant words, clauses, even sentences. This does not mean resorting to short, lifeless abstracts. The point is to make every word work.

Concise writing tips

Use intensifiers carefully

Everybody likes to make their writing more impressive by adding “very” or any of its synonyms to every single adjective. The common misconception is that this creates an impact on your reader. This is usually wrong — not only does it not add anything new to your text. It also demeans the word “very” because you use it ubiqutously.

Should you refrain from using intensifiers at all? Of course not! But you should be very frugal with them. To understand whether you need an intensifier or not, just try saying the sentence with and without it. If the intensifier contributes little or nothing to the sentence — you don’t need it.

Another way to avoid using intensifiers is to use adjectives and adverbs that already have very strong meaning. Instead of saying very smart you can use brilliant. Very big becomes huge. Very small turns to tiny. Doing that makes your text easier to read and more vocabulary-rich — both will help to get a higher score for your Writing paper.

Lose the useless words

This is a common problem. Students go for a saying that contains more words or clauses. They mistakenly believe that this is how intelligent people speak or write. Most of the times it is not needed, and a shorter sentence does a better job at getting the message across.

I met my friend Jack, a good acquaintance of mine, and we went to the pub
The closest cinema was right across the street
I couldn’t believe what I was seeing with my own eyes
The train was crowded with people at this time of the day
She is the person who works here

It can be very tempting to build your phrase to be more heavy — all to show your command of English. You shouldn’t do that, there are other ways to demonstrate your language abilities.

Extra tips

Don’t use words just for the sake of using them.Your words should have a purpose – to convey meaning, to create an effect, to achieve something.

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