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Concise Language

Concise Language

Author: Kathryn Reilly

    Introduce concise language and why it should be used.


    Explain how to convert common empty phrases and redundant language into more concise language. 


This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English writing styles and who is confused about how to write with concise language. It will explain how to cut empty phrases. 

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Using Concise Language

What is concise language?


Concise language refers to using the best words possible to convey an idea.  Learning to write concisely will bettter engage your reader as well as reduce the number of words a writer uses (meaning the writer writes less!)  Concise language is easier to read, and clearly transmits ideas.


Wordy language:

There is a very big problem with the paper you have submited to me: it does not meet the minimum requirement of three pages.

Concise revision:

Your paper possesses  a large problem:  it fails to meet the mimimum three-page requirement.

In this example, the red words are unnecessary as they are implied. 

"have submitted" is a weak verb phrase which can be replaced with the strong verb possesses.

"Large" is a more direct word than "very big".

"does not" is a negative phrase which can be replaced with fails.

"of" is an unnecessary preposition, which the writer can eliminate by creating an adjective: three-page.


Editing writing for concise language accomplishes two main goals:

1.  The writer establishes his or her point more quickly, thus keeping the reader's  

2.  The writer says exactly what he or she means, instead of writing around the
      issue (ex: super happy vs. excited)



Source: Kathryn Reilly

Writing Concisely

This PowerPoint introduces and provides examples for five methods to change wordy language into more concise language.

Source: Kathryn Reilly

Writing Summaries and Writing Concisely

The first half this YouTube video focuses on how to write a summary. Skip the first four minutes to watch the presentation on how to write concisely. This video contains some very good examples!

Source: YouTube

Concise Language Practice!

Are you ready to test your skills?  Carnegie Mellon University created an interactive slide show to help students write concisely.  This slide presentation presents information and offers opportunities to revise sentences with concise language.  Good Luck!!

Carnegie Mellon Interactive Slide Show

Source: Carnegie Mellon

Good Website Resources

The following websites offer categorized lists of ways to incorporate concise language into your writing:

This website alphabetizes 200 redundant phrases, and how to revise them.

This website lists cliches to avoid and possible substitutions.

This website examines ten sentences with unnecessary modifiers, and provides practice sentences.




Source: see above