Ways To Practice

1. Find material that you have written and rewrite it more concisely.

Eliminate words and phrases that are needlessly long and replace them with more concise alternative. If possible, make a copy of your more concise version and try doing the same with that version. This is particularly useful for identifying and fixing bad habits.

2. Find material that someone else has written and rewrite it more concisely.

Whether an article, book, email, or something else. Teachers can use this effectively by having students exchange writing assignments.

Practice sentences

(A) “She played by herself in the corner.”

(B) “You will do well as long as you study.”

(C) “They are hoping for a peaceful outcome.”

(D) “One out of three students reads below grade level.”

(E) “They walked to the entrance of the school.”

(F) “If you go to the dentist then we will get ice cream after.”

(G) “Competitors must finish first in their heats in order to qualify for the finals.”

(H) “The company ensured the public that the accident was an anomaly.”

(I) “There were a great number of skilled artists at the event.”

(J) “I went to the market and bought a bunch of desserts for the party tonight.”

(K) “Students do not have to complete the sections in order, but they need to complete both of them at some point.”

(L) “Over the course of my life I have met a lot of kind people, but none of them came close to being as kind as she was. Even at 90 years of age she still goes out of her way to help others.”

(M) “She did not have any justification for cheating on the exam. By letting her mark stand, the professor is sending the message that cheating is to be rewarded and previous accusations of favoritism have been given more legitimacy. There has to be a review of his conduct, or the department as a whole will lose credibility.”

(N) “Despite the fact that there are not as many weaknesses in his writing as there have been in the past, there is still a great deal of room for improvement. There are some problems with grammar and sentence length, but what he needs to focus on more than anything is being more concise. If he does not make significant improvements he will never be the excellent writer he aims to be.”

(O) “Six out of ten respondents agreed that the government needs to do a better job managing the economy. On top of that, most respondents asserted that violent crime is on the rise due to policies that are not adequate enough. On the whole, the results of the survey indicate that a large number of Americans think that there are several areas where the government can improve.”

Concise versions

(A) “She played alone in the corner.”

(B) “You will succeed if you study.”

(C) “They hope for a peaceful outcome.”

(D) “One of three students reads below grade level.”

(E) “They walked to the school’s entrance.”

(F) “If you go to the dentist we will get ice cream after.”

(G) “Competitors must finish first in their heats to qualify for the finals.”

(H) “The company ensured the public that the accident was anomalous.”

(I) “Many skilled artists were at the event.”

(J) “I went to the market and bought many desserts for tonight’s party.”

(K) “Students need not complete the sections in order, but they must complete both eventually.”

(L) “Throughout my life I met many kind people, but none were remotely as kind as she was. Even at 90 she goes out of her way to help others.”

(M) “She unjustifiably cheated on the exam. By affirming her mark, the professor is conveying that cheating should be rewarded and previous accusations of favoritism have been strengthened. His conduct must be reviewed, or the department will lose credibility.”

(N) “Although there are fewer weaknesses in his writing than before, much room for improvement remains. There are problems with grammar and sentence length, but he must focus mainly on concision. If he fails to improve significantly he will never be the excellent writer he aims to be.”

(O) “Six of ten respondents agreed that the government must manage the economy better. Furthermore, most respondents asserted that violent crime is rising due to inadequate policies. Overall, the survey indicates that many Americans think that there are several areas of government improvement.”

3. Use flashcards to help you remember concise alternatives.

For example:

On the front: “has to” “He has to be there early tomorrow.”
On the back: “must” “He must be there early tomorrow.”

4. Use Twitter!

With the 140 word limit on tweets, it can be tough not to be concise on Twitter. While maintaining proper spelling and grammar, try tweeting someone a message that would usually take you over 140 words if no limit were in place and you were not being mindful of how long your message was.