5 tips for writing concisely

Jennifer Hamrick
Wednesday 6 April 2016

One of the key techniques for writing for the web is to keep content concise.

Eye-tracking studies show that the longer a web page is, the less content users will read. Keeping your writing concise will save your reader time, and will make sure they get the important information they need.

How can you keep your writing concise? These 5 tips will help you slim down your writing.

1. Use the active voice

The active voice trims sentences and avoids confusion by turning awkward prepositional phrases into subjects.

The foam fight was thought to be a big success by the organisers.
The organisers thought the foam fight was a big success.

Classes will be attended every Thursday.
Students will attend class every Thursday.


2. Remove intensifiers

It’s really important to leave out extremely unnecessary intensifiers. Intensifiers rarely add value to a sentence and tend to sound unobjective, so leave these out where possible.

The celebrations were a really great way for parents to see what student life is like.
The celebrations were a great way for parents to see what student life is like.
The celebrations allowed parents to experience student life.

This course is very focused on the incredibly interesting study of poodles.
This course focuses on the interesting study of poodles.
This course studies poodles.


3. Eliminate redundancies

Keep an eye out for phrases that repeat information.

He woke up at 2am in the morning.

The University is an institution where students feel safe.
Students feel safe at the University.

The construction will continue for a period of 12 days.


4. Change nouns to verbs

Writers often complicated sentences by unnecessarily turning verbs into elongated nouns. See if you can reword sentences to turn complicated nouns into verbs.

The acquisition of the new pond was conducted by the dean.
The dean acquired the new pond.

The turtles made damages to the new pond.
The turtles damaged the pond.


5. Choose slim words

The English language provides us with an immense amount of choice, but web writers often fall into the trap of being too verbose. Look closely at your content; can you choose different, slimmer, words?

Postgraduates in Science will have the knowledge that the earth is not flat.
Science postgraduates know that the earth is not flat.

Our centre helps students make a choice about what they want to do in the future.
Our centre helps students choose their careers.


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