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College Essays – The Importance of Concision

When writing academic or technical text, strive to present your research and/or ideas in a concise manner. Some inexperienced writers try to add text to make their point sound more scholarly. In truth, wordiness can cloud your ideas and muddle your point. Most academic and technical authors should be very frugal in their use of words. In an attempt to cut down the extra words in your text, always write a rough draft. Most rough drafts are written much like you think or talk and will thus contain more words than necessary. Take the time to re-read this rough draft several times and ask yourself what is really necessary. Remove extraneous adjectives, adverbs, and redundant words and points. Whenever possible, simplify the sentence structure. Remove words that may be implied by other words in the sentence. Avoid the use of wordy phrases that can be replaced by one or two words (e.g., use “now” instead of “at the present time”). After all, one of the founding fathers of the United States of America, Thomas Jefferson, is credited as stating, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”

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