Saturday, August 4, 2007


Exercise Eight: Polishing Your Writing – correcting wordiness and
misused words

Wordiness occurs when unnecessary words are included in a person’s writing. These unnecessary words may have been added to impress the reader or “bulk-up” a paper. Regardless of the reason, wordiness should be avoided as it is often useless and repetitive information that readers prefer not to have to read!

Sentences should be clear and concise; that is, your writing should express your ideas in as few words as possible (without sacrificing information). The following is a list of wordy phrases. Note how, in some instances, two different words are used together which have similar meanings.

Wordy Phrases Absolutely complete Absolutely nothing Green in colour Final conclusion
I personally feel... In my opinion, I think... Circled around At that point in time
Collect together In this day and age Entirely eliminated Personal friend
Exactly identical Real, genuine leather Small in size True fact
Exact same Combined together Young in age Long length of time

Complete the activity below. Some wordy phrases are listed above, while others require your skill at finding and fixing them. Rewrite the sentences below editing for wordiness. How concise can you make the following sentences without changing the information contained in each?

1. My final conclusion concerning the real, genuine value of Bargain Barry’s reduced price sale goods is exactly identical with yours.

2. Small in size as he was, and surrounded on all sides by strange children he didn’t know, the uniquely courageous seven-year-old challenged the class bully to a fight.

3. The sergeant repeated again to the brand new recruits, “You will be called at 5:30 A.M. in the morning, and you will have circled around the barracks on the double by 5:45. You will at that point in time be completely free until 6:00, when you will continue on to the barracks mess for breakfast.

4. The new recruits disappeared from view after the 7:00 A.M. breakfast, to discuss what they could do to get even with a sergeant who woke them up one full hour before the necessary time.

5. They personally thought that the sergeant would probably repeat the same obnoxious
behaviour again, each day, so they decided to proceed ahead with a new, innovative plan as an appropriate response.

6. In my opinion, I must admit that I thought their plan was absolutely and completely foolproof, and that it was a great idea.

Abused Words
Language is continually evolving. As time goes by, new words are developing and old words are changing, but not necessarily for the best. Incorrect usage and pronunciation in speech can lead to misused, misspelled and made-up words. These words are ABUSED.

Examine the following list of abused words. Are you guilty of using any? Complete the activity that follows by rewriting and correcting any abused word errors. Some commonly abused words are listed while others require your skill to find and fix them.

Abused Words Explanation Correct Use alot There is no such word. a lot (it is actually two words)
anyways, anywheres and a long ways There is no “s” on these words. anyway, anywhere, a long way could of, would of, might of, should of, and so on. The “of” should be “have”. Could have, should have, might have, etc.
off of Use off alone. I fell off the step.

“real” used as an adverb: real sad, real nice “real” should not be used as an adverb. Use really or very.

suppose to, use to Grammatically incorrect. Use supposed to and used to.
themself, theirself, ourselfs, yourselfs, and themselfs The plural of self is selves. Themselves, ourselves, yourselves. Don’t use theirselves though, it’s not a word

For granit or granite There is no such term. This is a pronunciatio problem. It is spelled “for granted”.

1. Nell should of gone with us to the beach; now she can’t go nowheres.

2. I’m suppose to see whether the reason for the delay is because it’s raining.

3. They are suppose to get the ball themselfs, irregardless of where it is when they come off the field.

4. If youse don’t do nothing about boarding the windows, you’ll have pieces of glass everywheres in the house.

5. It’s real sad to see signs of prejudism in young children, who must have been influenced by their parents.

6. It is irrelevant whether she fell off of or was pushed off of her bicycle; she is disqualified anyways.

7. We should never take people for granite; when they are gone they can’t be replaced.

8. They should of finished the race even though they were behind, since every entrant is suppose to finish unless disqualified or injured.

Revise your essay and correct for wordiness and abused words.

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