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How to shorten a long essay? Ask specialists

Are you asking yourself “How do I shorten my essay?”. If yes, do not worry, you are not the only one. It might sound surprising but very few people can write briefly today. Since we always work with the written texts and have a wealth of experience in this sphere, we have noticed a quite curious phenomenon. When a person needs to create a text on some topic, the fear that he (or she) will not manage to say at least anything makes him / her write almost a novel. Or another scenario is when a person has and wants to say so much that tries to present almost everything within a single text.

Let’s be honest: even professional writers face the same problems sometimes or used to have them when starting their career. A lot of students need to shorten their application essay when applying for college. Have you ever done it? Have you ever needed to cut a word in a personal statement? How do you do it?

We perfectly realize that this problem is pretty crucial, and that is why we have prepared several helpful tips for you that will help shorten your texts and make them much better. So what to do to make an essay shorter?

  1. Let it “rest”. It often happens that when you write, something seems as a really important element, however, in several hours (or days if you have enough time) it loses its “charms”. Now you can clearly see what is essential and what is “husk”.
  2. Remove the first paragraph of your text… and look at what you have. It often leads to more precise, sharper and appropriate beginning. Also, a whole text will lose 5-6 lines, in general. This is a good way to shorten it.
  3. Clarify the meaning. For sure, your text has an author’s idea that you want to present to a reader, right? Read your text meticulously and answer the question if everything you have said is related to the main idea? Are there unnecessary insertions or statements about something different? If they are present, maybe you can use them for a different text the next time. Now it would be better to remove them.
  4. Choose someone to read your text. A stranger’s eye will find inaccuracies and excessive fragments in your text more quickly and easily. It is always difficult for an author of a text to cut his / her creation.
  5. Get rid of all introductory and “insecure” words. All these “in general”, “generally speaking”, “it seems”, “probably” are often just “verbal trash” that gives nothing to the content but makes the size of a text bigger. Review your text carefully and cross out unnecessary words. Most likely, the text will lose nothing in relation of the meaning but will become firmer and clearer in relation of statement.
  6. Simplify. Complex compound sentences in English with the elements that bring more “weight” are another way to make a text longer. They not only confuse both an author and a reader, but they also create excessive volume of a text. Rewrite your compound sentences, turning them into several simple, and you will see that your text will also change and get shorter.
  7. Summary and conclusions. There is a very wise saying: “If you have nothing else to say, put the point”. It is not difficult to understand the main idea of this statement. Sometimes summary and conclusions can be excessive. Sometimes all your text needs is a “sharp” point.

I need to get rid of wordiness… but how I do this?

More working tricks to shorten a text

Brevity is the skill that every person who needs to write texts should have. Everyone knows it, everyone talks about it, nevertheless, verbiage (or wordiness) continues to blow up the minds of “writing community”. Why does it happen so? There are several reasons – some of them are objective, some subjective, and some are frankly weird and unclear.

First of all, verbiage is he sign that an author has not studied a subject well, and thus, he / she tries to substitute the lack of facts inserting unnecessary words.

Second of all, verbiage is also widespread among the authors (copywriters) who need to produce several thousand signs of a typed text in a workday (because the income of many copywriters depends on the size of a text). Thus, there works the principle “the more I will write, the more I will earn”.

Third, there is the lack of perfectionism feature. Yes, any text can be made not only more effective but also more concise. How to do it? We are going to share our experience and useful tips.

Brevity is the soul of the first impression

First and foremost, let us specify that information you will read further concerns more professional writers (or copywriters, in other words). Nevertheless, everyone who wants and needs to make his / her text shorter can use the following pieces of advice.

It is high time to realize that the skill to write briefly forms a pleasant first impression about an author. At the same time brevity should not contradict with informational richness and presentation of facts. Every good professional writer was not like this in the beginning. Although, not so many people admit it.

It is necessary to learn to write briefly, more concisely than you can do it now. It is important to learn to shorten your own texts, to cut them without mercy. If you cut only someone else’s texts, you will hardly learn to do it properly.

The point is that an author has to think about the reader. The amount of information that a modern person receives constantly increases. As a consequence, a reader selects what text to prefer. Imagine two sheets of paper in front of you. One of them contains a page-size text, the other one has a half-page text. The question is: what text will you start reading first?

Remember that any text can be made at least 30% shorter. For example, remove from the previous sentence the words “remember”, “that”, and “at least”. Now the sentence is 30% shorter without damaging the meaning.

Now let’s try to overcome top 10 most common “friends of verbiage”.

#1: Quit officialese. Officialese is language that sounds official. It was brought to the sphere of copywriting by people who used to be engaged in corporate and administrative correspondence overfilled with clichés and other stylistic cacophony.

Let this style of writing stay dominant in official correspondence (although, everything can be more concise there as well), your goal is different. Do not forget about it even when you sleep.

The biggest disadvantage of officialese is that everything written can be expressed in other words without damaging the meaning. The second disadvantage of this language style is the abundance of clichés that mean nothing, for example, “We would like to inform / to state…”.

#2: Senseless clarifications. Everybody knows the word “that”. If you carefully scan different texts, you will notice how often it is used. We are not saying that this word is an enemy. We just want to tell that at least in 50% of cases its usage is not fully justified.

Usually, after this word, there is a definition or clarification. Also, not in every case it is appropriate because a reader probably understands everything without unnecessary clarification. If you are a copywriter, you should know that your readers are pretty smart, for sure.

#3: People cannot understand the language of the birds. Probably, this statement should be placed first. In the texts from time to time you can see the phrases that you cannot understand at once. They make you reread them again and again trying to understand the meaning.

The reason for why so unclear sentences appear is not known yet. The point is that even an experienced writer can do this. Anyway, in 100% of cases, the use of such phrases can be reduced significantly.

If a reader stumbles upon a sentence, this is a catastrophe. That is why when you notice some kind of hard-to-read mess in your text, rewrite this sentence at once or paraphrase it. Or appeal for professional help. Our specialists know what to do with your texts:

#4: Manic-depressive tautology. There are situations when in a sentence the writers use the same words and equivalent semantic constructions to create the effect of pomposity and increased significance.

At first sight, there is the risk of whether a reader will manage to understand what a writer tries to say. It can be one word or several different words, and they all are in the same sentence. On the one hand, this usually means a poor vocabulary (if so, the dictionary of synonyms might help). On the other hand, such tautology demonstrates the author’s tendency for verbiage.

If you need to get rid of wordiness and use word editor for this purpose, there is a high chance that the result will not be sufficient. Although, “soulless machines” offer to remove automatically wordiness from your writing, they can never do it as much professionally and accurately as the professionals of our online service. Appeal to us for help, and you will see what premium quality really means.

#5: Who needs pomposity? One of the important characteristics of a successful text is the sincerity of statement. It means that a reader does not have doubts about what is written, even about some exaggerations.

A text is communication with a reader. That is why there is no need to write the phrases that you would never say in a similar situation. It creates pomposity and causes mistrust. It is almost everywhere in commercial texts. There is more, the whole sentences are full of “too sugary” and “excessively sweet” terms and statements that provoke kind of intellectual heartburn.

#6: Passive voice is overused. Active and passive voices exist in many languages. This is, for example, such word combinations as: “the layout was created”, “a book was published”, “an example was given”, etc. Sometimes passive voice creates the effect of a “dead” style. Anyway, copywriters should prefer using active voice in their writing, it always looks and sounds better.

By the way, we also know where to find the best copywriters:

#7: Unintentional obesity. This is the situation when writers enlarge a text in some points artificially. You read, look at it, and think – what is wrong? Could not it be written shorter? It is so obvious…

Whether it is obvious or not, let just accept the facts: sometimes we purposely (or unintentionally or let’s say unconsciously) enlarge a sentence. Of course, you can leave it as it is, or you can try to set your ego aside and keep your thoughts in order.

However, many writers start using many means that are not really appropriate. Here you can see officialese, unnecessary clarification with definitions and the language of the birds in the same sentence. Yes, it also happens. There is nothing good in obesity. It causes the heaviness of reading, boredom and frank author’s dullness.

#8: Poetry and slang. There are such situations when it seems that some copywriter could be a great poet but not a professional writer. There is no place for lyrics and metaphors in copywriting. People do not read such texts for pleasure sitting in a comfortable armchair next to a fireplace with a glass of wine in a hand. A commercial text is not a love letter. Do not think about something sophisticated, do not try to imitate Hemingway or Garcia Marquez.

There are also other situations, in which it may seem that an author has confused the style of writing. Now we mean pure slang in written texts that in commercial writing leads only to zero. It can be used only when you talk to your friend and never in writings, especially if we speak about academic papers.

The goal of a text is not the applause or gaining sympathy. The main judge of such a text is a reader who wants to spend (or invest) money. It is easier to get applause than money in copywriting. Usually, the colleagues applaud but not the clients. However, your colleagues will not pay for such texts. So there is no sense to write metaphors or use slang.

#9: “You”-paranoia. The unspoken rule of copywriting,which is a selling text should not contain too many “we” pronouns, has caused the love for the use of “you” pronouns. This magical “you” is placed not just everywhere in the text but even several times in a single sentence. Why?

Imagine a classic conversation “seller – buyer” when a seller says “you” in every two-three words. It starts irritating, is not it? Remember that one “you” in one sentence is enough. It is more than enough. The point is that the excessive use of this pronoun contributes to the enlargement of a text.

#10: A tricky and difficult verb… a verb is our best friend because it symbolizes an action. However, there are other parts of speech next to it as well as word combinations. This is not good because they influence a verb in a bad way sometimes. This can be two verbs in a line when only one of them can be used. Or when a verb is used with an unnecessary noun or adjective. Why make everything more complex when it can be done easier?

Instead of postscripts… Of course, there are no perfect writers. No one is perfect. However, we are united by the general desire for improvement and writing texts more briefly and clearly. How to use fewer words and symbols without losing the meaning and credibility of writing. So look at your texts, reread them, and make them shorter removing everything that is not supposed to be there.

The experts of our website also know many other helpful tips that can help writer better texts. We can answer such questions as “How can I summarize an article easily?”, “What is the proper structure of different academic papers?”, “How to fix complex sentences and common errors”, and so on. Our specialists even know how to paste your entire blog article, change a couple of essential points, and get a brand new high-quality text.

We can help you with any assignment you have. Your college application essay, your academic papers, student projects and other assignments will be perfect if you turn for help to Findwritingservice com. Do not forget to visit our website and read the posts on our blog from time to time because we share the secrets and offer the benefits that you just cannot miss! We are always waiting for you.

Findwritingservice com professionals have already helped thousands of students providing the best custom writing services that you can always rely on. Superior quality is guaranteed. Be sure that you will get the wanted result with our assistance!

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