Let’s Practice being concise

rogersgeorge on February 16th, 2017

Being concise means you leave out unnecessary words. It also means choosing the shorter of two (or more) equivalent ways of saying something. Here’s a sentence from an interesting article in The Washington Post that’s nice and grammatical, but I’d say it’s a bit wordy. Unless I’m being paid by the word. (Which I’m not.)

This is primarily due to the fact that the low-level winds that blow from east to west across the tropical Pacific are at their weakest during this time of year, and consequently, small atmospheric changes can cause significant cooling or warming of the tropical Pacific.

Clear enough, and nice and chatty. Actually not too bad, and I wouldn’t be ashamed of it, but the sentence jumped out at me as a good example of how to be more concise. A lot of times you need to be concise, especially if the subject is complicated or boring. Here’s my take:

This is primarily due to the fact that because the low-level winds that blow from east to west across the tropical Pacific are at their weakest during this time of year right now, and consequently, so small atmospheric changes can cause significant cooling or warming of the tropical Pacific.

Here it is without the markup:

This is primarily because the low-level winds that blow east to west across the tropical Pacific are weakest right now, so small atmospheric changes can cause significant cooling or warming of the tropical Pacific.

That cut it about in half, and you get the same content. How much time would you save if your reading took half as long without losing any content? How much time would your readers save?

Okay, I just ran into a Dustin comic that mentions being concise. It’s a different kind of concise, though. But the principle applies, I think.

Dustin - 02/10/2017

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One Response to “Let’s Practice being concise”

  1. Ha. K.I.S.S. is always the best policy. I think, however, that as much as I try, I still repeat myself. Have a great day. Always enjoy your cartoons.

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