Choose Your Words Wisely

Choose Your Words Wisely

by Steve Gamel
Edit This

I was asked recently to trim two articles by 40 or 50 words so that each fit the existing layout of a client’s newsletter. That’s no problem for me, but one of my goals for any editing project is to be considerate of the author’s message and writing style.

Perhaps you’ve found yourself walking that fine line with your own copy – you have so much good stuff to write, but it’s simply too wordy when you finish putting pen to paper. 

You need to cut something. But what? And how?

Start by shortening wordy sentences. With patience and a keen eye, you and/or your editor can shorten practically any sentence by removing what I call “empty calorie” words and phrases. These also are called “filler” or “weasel” words, and they contribute nothing to your writing.

Below are a few examples.
• Very
• That
• In spite of the fact that
• Really
• Due to the fact
• At all times
• More

Instead of writing, “It is imperative that all employees report to the meeting early and on time,” trim it to say, “All employees must report to the meeting on time.” That’s a difference of five words!

You’d be surprised how wordy we all are! Writing concisely allows you to present more information with less words while maintaining a clear message.  By following this simple approach with my client, I trimmed the fat in the newsletter without sacrificing anything critical. The end result was a quality product.
This article focused on wordiness, but using the active voice and staying on topic also helps you stay concise.

Edit This is a full-service writing and editing services company. With more than 20 years of experience, I can help you clearly and concisely communicate your written message to any audience. Give us a call today, and thanks for reading!

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