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women writing

Tips and tricks for shorter—and stronger—writing

Hello, again! It’s me: your resident writer and grammar nerdback with more tips, tricks, and best practices.

In the past, we’ve debated the oxford comma and debunked some grammar myths. And today, we’ll be discussing concise writing.

Writing concisely is always important; but in marketing, when you’re battling dwindling attention spans and limited word count, it’s vital.

So, here are a few tips for making your writing more concise:

  1. Eliminate unnecessary qualifiers.

We often use qualifiers that aren’t totally necessary (like the use of “totally” in this sentence. See what I did there?!). Eliminating unneeded qualifiers can save a word or two—and those kinds of small tweaks can really add up! 

Some common qualifiers to watch out for are: actually, really, basically, probably, very, definitely, somewhat, kind of, extremely, and practically.

  • Unnecessary qualifier example: Pepperoni is definitely the best pizza topping.
  • Concise example: Pepperoni is the best pizza topping.

2. Avoid tautologies (aka: redundant phrases).

What is a tautology? So glad you asked. Tautologies are expressions or phrases that repeat the same information. These kinds of redundancies can eat up your limited word count and even distract the reader.

  • Tautology example: In my opinion, I think pepperoni is the best pizza topping.
  • Concise example: In my opinion, pepperoni is the best pizza topping.

3. Strengthen your adjectives and adverbs.

Using strong, descriptive adjectives and adverbs help sentences become shorter and more impactful. When editing, see if you can identify places where you’ve used two words, when one would do.

  • Wordy example: Pepperoni is a very yummy pizza topping.
  • Concise example: Pepperoni is a delicious pizza topping.

4. Rethink your redundant pairs.

For style, I love a good redundant pair. But, when writing concisely, this is a great way to eliminate extra word count.

Common examples of redundant pairs include: full and complete, each and every, hopes and dreams, whole and entire, first and foremost, true and accurate, always and forever.

  • Redundant pair example: If the pizza has pepperoni, I will eat the whole entire thing.
  • Concise example: If the pizza has pepperoni, I will eat the entire thing.

5. Write in active voice.

Repeat after me: passive voice is not incorrect. It services its time and place. But, when your goal isto write concisely, active voice is your friend.

  • Passive voice example: The pepperoni pizza was consumed in its entirety by me.
  • Active voice example: I ate the entire pepperoni pizza.

Writing concisely can be challenging, but worth it. It can make your writing a lot stronger and impactful. So, next time, use some of these tips, and then reward yourself with a pepperoni pizza!

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