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UCQ

Writing Style

Concise Writing

Patterns of Wordiness (too many words).

1. There are and It is at the beginning of sentences

Wordy: There were many students at the lecture.

Concise: Many students attended the lecture

2. Intensifiers: Delete non-contributing words that intensify another word: very, a lot, really, totally, quite, definitely

Wordy: The patient's condition was very unstable.

Concise: The patient's condition was unstable.

3. Nominalization: the action is in a noun instead of a verb: 

Wordy: The author does an analysis of the problem. 

ConciseThe author analyzes the problem.

Be aware of non-specific verbs such as “be” (am, is, was, are, etc.), “do” (did, does, etc.), “have” (has, had, etc.) and “make.”  These non-specific verbs can usually be replaced with a more specific verb.  The specific verb may be hiding in a noun (e.g., analyze versus analysis)

4. Repeated words in the same sentence. Reorganize or combine sentences to eliminate repetition of nouns.

Wordy: In my opinion, one of the most important steps of the learning process is understanding how the learning process happens.

Concise:  One of the most important steps of the learning process is understanding how it happens.

5. Non-Contributing words

Wordy: In my opinion, the role of nurse practitioner (NP) should be introduced to more clinics since NPs can perform many of the tasks assumed by physicians.

Revised:  The role of nurse practitioner (NP) should be introduced to more clinics since NPs can perform many of the tasks assumed by physicians.

6. Phrasal verbs (2-word verbs): These verbs are  informal and can usually be replaced by a single word.

Wordy: A transformational leader can sit down with staff to listen to their ideas in order to solve problems. They can then forward these ideas to the next level of leadership and try to come up with solutions.  

Revision: A transformational leader can meet with staff to listen to their ideas in order to solve problems. They can then forward these ideas to the next level of leadership to find more solutions.  

7. Avoid “not” constructions and try to find a different word.

Wordy: They did not succeed in reviving the patient.

Wordy: They were not successful in reviving the patient.

Concise: They failed to revive the patient.

8. Overuse of transitional words: The most frequently overused transitional words include moreover, furthermore, and in addition. Transitional words include also, however, therefore, consequently, and others.

Wordy: Usually, the NP works with a physician and can assume some of the physician's tasks such as ordering diagnostic tests and prescribing medication. Moreover, NPs can diagnose and collect medical histories for the patient and do physical examinations, make referrals for medical conditions as a doctor.

Wordy: Staff nurses often act as informal leaders while nurse managers' leadership roles are formalized. However, all nurses have a responsibility to act as leaders. Therefore, it is important for nurses to understand leadership theories to determine the behaviors that will influence others.

Revision 1:  Staff nurses often act as informal leaders while nurse managers' leadership roles are formalized. However, all nurses have a responsibility to act as leaders. Understanding leadership theories is important for all nurses to determine the behaviors that will influence others.

Revision 2: Staff nurses often act as informal leaders while nurse managers' leadership roles are formalized. Because, all nurses have a responsibility to act as leaders, all nurses should understand leadership theories to determine the behaviors that will influence others.

 

Videos

Watch this 2-minute video introduction to concise writing.

UNC Writing Center. (2018, September 20). Writing concisely - UNC Writing Center [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHgdvQYXQCk

Watch this 9-minute video that provides an extended lesson on writing concisely.

YFCS GradProgramAdministration. (2016, April 8). Writing clearly and concisely [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36IsNsYc7Ws

Watch this 11-minute video that presents four useful tips to help you keep your writing clear and concise.

Learn Academic English. (2021, March 21). 4 tips to improve your writing! How to write clearly and concisely [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-rql1WFQ6k

Watch this 3-minute video on misplaced modifiers.

TED-Ed. (2015, September 8). How misused modifiers can hurt your writing - Emma Bryce [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tX34V_XGeQ

 

Additional Resources

10 Tips for Writing More Concisely 

Firth, K. (2015). 10 tips for more concise writing. Research Degree Insiders. https://researchinsiders.blog/2015/06/12/10-tips-for-more-concise-writing/