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Wordiness V/S Concision

Using more words than needed results in wordiness. The G-matic sentences should be with minimum number of words. Absence of wordiness results in concise structure. So, we can say that wordiness and concision are opposite faces of the same coin.


The problem of wordiness is resulted from the following.

  1. Use of Unnecessary Modifiers and Determiners
    While we should accept that the use of modifiers is quite necessary for the essential sense of the sentence, we should also understand that over-use of these will result in wordy structure. Sometimes, even the total elimination of these will not diminish the sense of the sentence. In such cases, use of modifiers and determiners results in wordiness.

Study the following to understand the concept.

? Any kind of action on the part of the government can exacerbate the current situation. (wordy)

In the above sentence, the words kind, and part are adding nothing to the sentence.

* Any governmental action can exacerbate the current situation. (concise)

  1. The Use of Additional Clauses in the Place of Phrases
    Use of additional clause in many cases causes wordy structure. If a phrase can serve the purpose without affecting the sense of the sentence, it is always concise to use a phrase in the place of a clause.

? Students who come from a minority group need to adjust in academic environment which is dominated
by a major cultural group
. ( both the relative clauses can be substituted by phrases to develop a concise sentence.)

*Students coming from a minority group need to adjust in academic environment dominated by a major cultural group. (the modifier phrases used in the place of relative clauses make the sentence concise.)

  1. Use of Long Phrases in the Place of Adjectives
    Modifier phrases are sometimes used in the places of adjectives and nouns, making the structure wordy. If we substitute these phrases with relevant words, we can develop concise sentences.

Study the following examples.

? Managers with ambition sometimes set unrealistic targets.

*Ambitious managers sometimes set unrealistic targets.

? The athlete with best performance will be selected.

* The best-performing athlete will be selected.

  1. Unnecessary use of Empty Subjects It and There.
    The use of it/there as an empty subject may create proper emphasis, but its unnecessary use might result in wordy structure. While the empty subject there correctly emphasizes the presence, its unwarranted use may result in wordiness.

Study the following examples.

* It is the conjugation of human and material resources, not either alone, that creates a successful company.

In the above sentences, the conjugation is properly emphasized, and thus, the use of cleft sentence with empty subject is justified.

? It is a possibility that our team will get better incentives.

In this sentence, the cleft sentence serves no better purpose than the following simple sentence. It unnecessarily uses two clauses where one will serve the purpose.

*Our team may get better incentives. (concise)

? There are two points that deserve our attention during the board meeting.

* Two points deserve our attention during the board meeting.

In the above set of sentence, the emphasis is not on the existence of two points. The points deserving our attention is the focal point of the sentence. Thus, the use of empty there makes the sentence wordy. The second sentence that uses the subject directly is concise.

We, however, should remember that the use of these empty subjects is justified when we emphasize the existence or some other factor in the sentences. Study the following example.

* Despite the advancement of technology, there are still a few problems that hinder long manned space mission.

? Despite the advancement of technology, a few problems still hinder long manned space mission.

Of the two sentences, the first one, though wordy, is preferable because the existence of the problems despite technological advancement is the point of focus.

  1. Use of Nouns Forms of Verbs
    Sometimes, we tend to use noun forms of verbs that necessitate the use of additional words making the structure wordy.

Study the following examples to understand this concept.

? We need to offer protection to the endangered species in order to protect the biome, which is sensitive. (wordy)

In the above sentence, the noun form of the verb protect is used and this use requires the use of additional words. This sentence can be rephrased using the verb form directly making the sentence quite concise and clear. The following is the possible correction.

* We need to protect the endangered species to protect the sensitive biome. (concise and clear)

? The researchers now have the ability to map the genes completely.

* The researchers now can map genes completely.

 

Wordy structure

  1. Some traffic engineers made an attempt to apply the rules of fluid dynamics to traffic flow, likening it to the flow of liquid in a pipe.
  2. Tobacco mosaic virus, a single stranded RNA virus that infects plants, such as tobacco, it was the first virus to be discovered.
  3. Jean Robert-Houdin, who was originally a clockmaker, became the first modern magician by opening a magic theater in Paris in 1840.
  4. During the period of serious credit crisis, many big banks with abundant financial resources were able to acquire small local banks with great growth potential in future.
  5. Primary insomnia, a sleeplessness that is not caused by any specific physiological causative factors, it is frequently attributed to alcohol, or anxiety, or stress or coffee as its causative factors.
  6. The term tidal wave, a common name that is given to a tsunami, is not appropriate because tides do not play any role either in its formation or in its spreading.
  7. The Nahuatl language was used by Navajo code talkers during World War II so that they could transmit secret messages which both the Germans and the Japanese never deciphered.
  8. While existence of alternatives makes it possible for managers to optimize production while minimizing costs, too many of them create confusion during decision making process.
  9. There is a possibility that scientists will prevent future occurrence of cancer by modifying the gene which is found to be reason for the disease.
  10. The Anti-terrorist Law, which gives the power to law enforcement authorities to imprison foreigners without trial, is criticized by many governments.

Keys

  1. Some traffic engineers attempted to apply the rules of fluid dynamics to traffic flow, likening it to the flow of liquid in a pipe.
    Explanation: Made an attempt is wordy while attempted makes it concise.
  2. Tobacco mosaic virus, a single-stranded RNA virus infecting plants, such as tobacco, was the first virus to be discovered.
    Explanation: The sentence already has the subject (Tobacco mosaic virus) and use of it after the appositive is redundant. Changing the relative clause into a modifier phrase also makes the sentence more concise.
  3. Jean Robert-Houdin, originally a clockmaker, became the first modern magician by opening a magic theater in Paris in 1849.
    Explanation: The relative clause (who was originally a clock maker), can be reduced to a modifier phrase (originally a clockmaker) without effecting the meaning.
  4. During the period of credit crisis, many big, affluent banks were able to acquire small local banks with great growth potential.
    Explanation: The concept of serious is already present in the word crisis. The prepositional phrase with abundant financial resources can be concisely expressed by adjective affluent. The concept of in future is already present in the word potential. You might have been tempted to use could in the place of were able to. This is not acceptable because the use changes the meaning. Could expresses past ability, whereas were able to expresses past action.
  5. Primary insomnia, a sleeplessness that is not caused by any specific physiological causative factors, is frequently attributed to alcohol, anxiety, stress or coffee.
    Explanation: The sentence already contains a subject and thus, the use of it after causative factors is redundant. Moreover, we do not need to repeat or in the series. Using it once between the last two nouns is enough. Attributed to and as causative factors together create redundancy.
  6. The term tidal wave, a common name given to a tsunami, is not appropriate because tides play no role in its formation or its spreading.
    Explanation: Use of relative clause that is given to… is changed a modifier phrase which is concise.
  7. The Nauatl language was used by Navajo code talkers during World War II to transmit secret messages which both the Germans and the Japanese never deciphered.
    Explanation: The use of to-infinitive is more economical verbally than so that clause. Thus, the concise sentence replaces the clause with infinitive.
  8. While existence of alternatives enables managers to optimize production by minimizing costs, too many of them create confusion during decision making process.
    Explanation: It will be verbally economical to use enable in the place of make it possible for managers.
  9. Scientists may prevent future occurrence of cancer by modifying the causative gene.
    Explanation: Use of filler there makes the sentence wordy. Thus, using subject scientists directly makes the sentence concise. Moreover, instead of using the long relative clause, a single adjective causative gives the same sense more effectively.
  10. The Anti-terrorist law, which empowers the law enforcement authorities to imprison foreigners without trial, is criticized by many governments.
    The wordy expression gives the ability to can be replaced by the verb empower.





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