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ESSAY EDITING: ESSAY SHORTENING TECHNIQUES

By Kendall Jenkins on 2019-01-14 14:57:00

Do you know how to make your essay’s readability pleasant and grade-winning? We will walk you through the process of applying useful essay shortening techniques!

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Essay Shortening Techniques

Creating excellent written work is an art. Similarly, the writing process is not as straightforward and quick as some may think. Normally done in stages, it requires creating drafts that ultimately become the finished piece of writing. Editing is the last step before your paper is finished. It involves correcting grammar mistakes, fixing writing mechanics, and improving style. One important and helpful editing technique involves shortening words and phrases. This is especially useful when the word count is lower than required. This technique can also be used for highly verbose texts to help with fixing the excessive wordiness problem.

However, the task itself poses a challenge. How do you reduce the words or rephrase them without destroying the meaning conveyed in the modified parts? If after reducing or “trimming down” the words, the original ideas get lost, that means the effort applied was futile.

The primary subject of our article is essay shortening techniques. Accordingly, you will learn a number of effective reducing tips that will help you successfully shorten your essay. Even if you don’t have the time to do it yourself, an essay editing service can always help. Nonetheless, you will still learn very applicable ideas by reading further!

Replace repeated instances of nouns with pronouns

Whenever there is a recurring use of the same nouns in successive sentences, it results in redundancies. Mentioning the same names repeatedly does not add any new meaning to the sentences. Instead, after the initial use, you should always replace the nouns with fitting pronouns. Let’s take a look at the below example to demonstrate this point:

  • With the presence of the boy band at the party, one could not help but agree that the boy band made it a memorable event.

As can be seen from the above, the highlighted noun (the boy band) was repeated in the same sentence. It is obvious that the event is considered memorable thanks to their performance. Therefore, the second use of the word is unnecessary, and the three words (the boy band) are superfluous. A shortened version would be as follows:

  • ...agree that they made it a memorable event.

By using the pronoun “they,” the three words have been shortened to one without diluting the meaning. Although in this example the reduction may appear modest,  you will be surprised by how powerful this technique can be when applied across your entire essay. As the saying goes, ”little drops of water make a mighty ocean.”

Use adjectives as objects to succeed adjective-bearing nouns

Although it may initially appear confusing, this technique is actually simple to apply in relevant situations. It basically allows you to connect an adjective (the object) to the subject (adjective-bearing noun) without repeating the noun. This often results in a single-word adjective that shortens the expression. Here is an example to clarify:

  • By using the pronoun ‘they’, the three words have been shortened to one.

Interestingly, this example was taken from this text using the previous technique. What you see here is that “the three words” have quite literally been reduced to one. You can see that the sentence retains its meaning without repeating the noun “word” after the adjective “one.” Again, when applied across an entire text, the shortening effect can be substantial.

Use verbs to replace nouns that come with articles and prepositions

Using a noun surrounded by several words to express an idea is a practice called nominalization. The problem with this is that it makes your essay unnecessarily lengthy and may even obscure your ideas. In fact, one of the easiest ways of shortening your essay without losing meaning is to avoid it. Let's take a look at the following example:

  • The managers and clients initially had their differences about the project’s goals. However, both parties eventually reached an agreement.

The above could be shortened as follows:

  • Although the managers and clients disagreed about the project’s goals, they eventually agreed on them.

Please, observe that three words (“reached an agreement”) are used in the initial sentence, whereas the shortened version contains only one (“agreed”). Also, the example demonstrates how the expression can be rephrased and reduced to one sentence instead of two. It also contains an already mentioned technique that replaces nouns “the managers and clients” (4 words) with a pronoun “they.”

Use contractions as regularly as possible (informal writing)

Contractions are shortened versions of words that result from omitting some constituent letters. This technique is especially effective when the style of writing is informal, and the character count is important. The typical result for each instance is a 50% reduction in the number of words since most contractions are created from two. Here are some examples of no contraction followed by applicable contractions:

  • He will work better. — He’ll work better.

  • I am a professional athlete. — I’m a pro athlete.

  • We will not do such a thing. — We won’t do such a thing.

Eliminate adverbs that are not crucial to the meaning conveyed

Another way of quickly reducing word count is to remove adverbs. But, attention should be paid to adverbs that are critical to preserving the intended meaning. If their removal does not destroy much of the meaning, be sure to delete them. You can also single-word adjectives or verbs that can express the same idea. Here are some examples:

  1. The very handsome singer got the audience’s attention.

  2. The pretty awesome performance of the team made them famous.

  3. The price of bitcoin rose rapidly in December of 2017.

The above examples can be shortened as follows:

  1. The charming singer got the audience’s attention.

  2. The exceptional performance of the team made them famous.

  3. The price of bitcoin rallied in December of 2017.

By using the above techniques, you should be ready to undertake the shortening task with relative ease. There are other methods that are not included in this article, but that doesn’t subtract from the effectiveness of the ones explained here. The true power of our tips manifests when they are all applied. Hence, the more of them you use, the shorter your writing will become without losing meaning.

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