What is concision and why should we be concise? Let’s start with the quotes below:
“Whenever we can make 25 words do the work of 50, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish.” –Wilson Follett
“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” –Dr. Seuss
“In publishing, less is invariably more. Critical content is precise and to the point. In this information overloaded world there has never been a greater case to keep it short, simple and snappy.” –Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton
Concision is the practice of omitting needless words or letters, whether they add nothing of value to the sentence or can be replaced by shorter alternatives. While many believe that wordiness and advanced vocabulary are reflective of good writing, and thus often write as such, there are several reasons why you should know concise alternates. Among a few:
1. The more concise your writing is the easier it is to effectively work within a word or page limit, whether on policy memos, term papers, or exams.
2. The more concise your writing is, the better it will flow for readers, whether in law, business, or marketing among other professions.
3. The more concise alternates you know, the more options you will have for your writing.
This does not mean that it is advisable to always use the fewest words or letters possible. For example, avoiding repetition and optimally developing particular characters, perhaps voluble relatives, may require you to use wordy options when there are concise alternatives. There are many benefits to concise writing, however, and you will be a better writer by having this skill.