依旧从BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Principles of Written English 抄过来的。我真的对这门课是相见恨晚！呜呜，我写英文各种罗嗦（楼下群众：你中文更罗嗦好不好？你看落园多少废话？）
what causes wordiness?
Wordiness is using more words than you need to in order to write what you mean. Everyone has a tendency to be too wordy at times. Some of the causes of this wordiness are:
- Trying to sound too formal or academic. Unfortunately, in academic writing, there are a lot of examples of wordy writing. This doesn't mean you have to model your writing on bad examples. Your readers will always appreciate if you state your ideas clearly, and using no more words than needed.
- Not knowing more precise vocabulary. For example, saying, She ran quickly to the store can be made somewhat less wordy, and more precise, by saying: She raced to the store (race=run quickly). Finding the right vocabulary can help you cut down the number of words you use. Every reduction helps, even if it's only a word or two.
- Using too many unnecessary and vague modifiers. Typically, modifiers like really, very, quite, and similar words add no meaning to your writing. If you need to modify a word, find precise modifiers. For example, instead of There's a really tall building near my house, write: There's a 50-story building near my house.
- Using too many prepositional phrases or possessives. These types of phrases can add length to your sentences, often unnecessarily. So, instead of The car belonging to Mr. Wang is in the garage [10 words], write: Mr. Wang's car is in the garage [7 words].
Writing less wordy prose
One problem many writers have with wordiness is relying on some standard phrases that they hear or read. The table here, taken from the first part of this course, has a brief introduction of some of these wordy phrases:
|based on the fact that||because|
|despite the fact that||although|
|in the event that||if|
|at the present time||now|
|until such a time as||until|
|on a weekly basis||weekly|
|it is often the case that||often|
|have the ability to||can|
|during the course of||during|
|take under consideration||consider|
|to be of the opinion||to think|
|to make reference to||to refer to|
|in the final analysis||finally|
Some steps to take to reduce wordiness when reviewing your work:
- Look for any of the phrases from this table and write them more succinctly.
- Look for places where you use modifiers, such as adjectives or adverbs. Consider whether the modifier adds important information. If it doesn't, remove it or change it to be more precise. If you keep the modifier, ask if there is a more precise single-word vocabulary item that expresses the same meaning as the word + modifier.
- Look at any sentences in your writing that seem long. Determine if there are ways to cut the length of the sentence.
- Read your sentences out loud, one by one. Sometimes wordiness reveals itself when you hear it rather than see it.
- Don't use a passive verb construction when active would be better. Instead of writing The bill was paid by us, write: We paid the bill.
- Eliminate unnecessary personal commentary. Often, phrases like I believe, I think, I just want to emphasize, etc. are not needed to make your point.
It takes time to recognize wordiness in your own writing. However, the process will pay off--your writing will become much easier to read, or rather, your writing will be more readable.