How to Write Clearly and Concisely: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

How to Write Clearly and Concisely: Part 3

Concise prose is clear and compelling; reading it requires it a minimum of time, effort, and hassle. If your prose is clear and concise, then readers are more likely to read it thoroughly, to understand it accurately, and to appreciate its message.

Here are two more specific, straightforward ways to clarify and condense your writing.

Remove unnecessary introductory phrases. Like clarifying phrases, introductory phrases are often unnecessary. It is appropriate to specify a particular author (“According to Smith,”) but superfluous to mention that information originated from a vague, unnamed source (“Reports show that…”). It is appropriate to clarify a sentence’s relationship to its preceding sentence (“Conversely,”) but unwarranted to specify its content’s general existence (“It has become clear that…”).

Therefore, never begin a sentence with a phrase that contains no particular information, such as: “In my opinion,” “It appears that,” “I do not mean to suggest that,” “One can see how,” “It should be noted that,” “In short,” “Basically,” “In other words,” “The meaning of this is that,” “It is recognizable that,” etc.

Instead, simply explain the meaning or relate the recognizable information. If you want to state something in other words, then simply do so; either it is an obvious clarification that needs no introduction, or it is an unnecessary repetition that should be eliminated. Never inform the reader that something should be noted; the mere statement of the information should seize the reader’s attention. Do not hedge a statement by remarking that it is merely your opinion; instead, describe and support your opinion and convince the reader to agree with you.

If removing a phrase does not change the sentence’s meaning or obscure the paragraph’s logic, then do so.

Eliminate general wordiness. As a rule of thumb, use the fewest words that can communicate your message clearly. If you can eliminate a word or phrase without eliminating essential meaning, then do so. This is not an absolute law; nevertheless, if you establish it as a general goal, then your writing will greatly improve.


“When it comes to the memo he wrote, his main aim was to attempt to point out that the feedback his boss was offering every day was helping him, and he argued that the result of her criticism was that he had the opportunity to meet the goal of improving his work.”
“His memo explained that his boss’s daily feedback helped him improve his work.”