Simplify wordy expressions ~ The Linguistics Zone

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Simplify wordy expressions

Here are examples of wordy phrases and how they can be simplified.

  • "in today's modern society" -> today, nowadays
  • "in spite of the fact that" -> although
  • "in order to" -> to
  • "has the ability to" -> can

These expressions are acceptable to use (they are not ungrammatical), but you shouldn't overuse them. You can see this phenomenon happening both in professional and amateur situations.

Why use wordy expressions?

Wordiness is used by professionals to make them sound more intelligent (in the marketing world, there is a tendency to think "more words = smart person").

Wordy expressions are often used by students to "fill up" their required word count up for an essay assignment!

125 comments:

lucia said...

I'm a wordy writer. I intentionally switched to commenting on silly items in haiku to practice brevity. (It's a bit extreme-- but it's good practice.)

webd360 said...

shortening phrases can make things much more understandable and less complex, but on the other hand sometimes the longer version just sounds better.

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'Wordy expressions are often used by students to "fill up" their required word count up for an essay assignment!' lol, this is so true. When I give some assignment such as content writing to some of the content writers working at our firm, they often user words like these which makes it look too 'flowery' at times. Simple and precise often puts the best impression forth.

James Xocai said...

Just the the previous person mentioned, a lot of young people use longer phrases to fill up words. And don't forget the classic increasing the period size, and changing the font.


The ironic thing is, they could probably have written the rest of the content in less time than they spent thinking of longer phrases.

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When I give some assignment such as content writing to some of the content writers working at our firm, they often user words like these which makes it look too 'flowery' at times.

Mac from Motorcycle Fairings said...

That is why English is easier to write, without the need to use lots of words and longer pages, just a few words can really transmit the idea.

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thats really true that english is the easier language in all time. but some time its being not as much easier as much we think.

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But, you have to make sure to use them in the proper context, otherwise they will sound odd.

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Wordy, talk a lot and say a little... that is what I get about wordy in a Spanish meaning right? well happens the same in almost languages I think, this blog is really teaching me a lot of things I didn't know.

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You say "there is a tendency to think more words = smart person", but I'm not sure that I agree (sorry, I should have said "I disagree").

I think professionals use bigger more complicated words to come across more intelligent. People who don't know the meaning of the 'big words' use more words.

Lee

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I like to kiss, keep it simple stupid :)

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I agree with you webd360. The use of wordy expressions is to impress the reader or listener to think that the speaker or writer is intelligent. But the fact that simple expressions tend to be easier to understand makes a lot of sense. Why waste time coming up with cocky, wordy expressions when you can easily make a simple one. By the way, Great post!

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When editing your drafts look out for unnecessarily wordy phrases. Often times prepositional phrases are the culprits here, especially "at" and "of".

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People often feel that they're making themselves look smarter by using more words but oftentimes, it simply congests their narrative.

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the long winded phrases can get old like the hackneyed: the fact of the mattter is or needless to say, etc. However, they are accepted by people so there is not really a problem using them.

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