I work with various clients, and on different projects, where word count is important. Sometimes I need to shave a few words to fit a document on one page. There are times when I need to reduce thousands of words to a few paragraphs. I write and edit articles for Rental Housing Business magazine, where word count varies according to the number of ads. I also regularly summarize large amounts of content into smaller text bites for easier reading (e.g., study guides, websites, training materials).
Many people learned to write long essays in high school, college and university. In those cases, it was important to fill pages and extend word count. They don’t know how to say what they need to say in fewer words. Readers have short attention spans. Writing concisely is an important skill.
The following tips should help you to reduce your overall word count:
- Use the active voice instead of the passive voice.
Passive voice: The course was taught by the marketing expert.
Active voice: The marketing expert taught the course.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives and adverbs (e.g., extremely large, incredibly fast, unbelievably difficult, running quickly).
- Replace longer words, phrases, and idioms with shorter options. There are thousands of unnecessarily long words and phrases – the following resources should help:
The Writing Centre
Writing Concise Sentences
- Do not repeat the same point in different ways. Say it once and move on.
- Link to additional information online when you need to provide more details.
Do you have any tips on making your writing more concise? Let me know – email@example.com.