Writing an essay is one of the most challenging tasks for students. Many times, we hear students research “ways to shorten my essay” or “make my essay shorter”, with the hopes of reducing their word count or saving time.
This article will provide you with information on how to make an essay shorter, thus reducing the amount of time you spend while still maintaining meaningful arguments.
How to shorten an essay
While the word count may be a tool used to measure the length of an essay, it also can be a useful gauge for clarity. When you have fewer words and phrases, your writing will become more concise and direct. The opposite is true when you use too many words in your essay—the result is an unclear piece that does not say anything meaningful or important about the subject matter.
By shortening your word count, you can improve your essay’s clarity without making any significant sacrifice on its overall quality.
There are various ways to shorten an essay. Below are present some tips on how to shorten essays without changing their structure completely so as not to lose any meaning.
1. Find unnecessary repetitions
One way to shorten an essay is by using simple tricks like cutting out unnecessary sentences or paragraphs.
- Look for repeated words, phrases, and sentences and cut them down.
- Use the find function to locate repeated words or phrases.
2. Remove filler words/phrases
When you are writing an essay, it can be tempting to use filler words and phrases such as “like”, “you know”, “needless to say”, “basically”, “simply”, or “in my humble opinion”. While these phrases may seem harmless, they offer no serious value to your paper, and only contribute to increasing its watery density.
3. Replace phrases with single words
You can make your essay shorter by replacing phrases with single words. The easiest way to do this is by using a thesaurus, which will give you synonyms for different words.
Another way is to choose the shortest word possible that conveys the same meaning. If multiple words translate the same meaning, pick whichever one sounds best. In addition to this, try as much as possible to avoid using the same industry term repeatedly in one paragraph; it makes things less confusing for people reading it.
4. Skip some short sentences in long paragraphs
Eliminating short sentences that repeat the same idea is a way to learn how to shorten a paper. Rather use short sentences that create emphasis, by using a few words or phrases to make your point clear.
5. Trim long sentences by cutting excess verbiage
The easiest way to cut down on word count is by shortening sentences. When you cut details that do not add substance to the essay, you will be left with more room for discussing your key points. One way to do this is by asking yourself if each detail is relevant and useful. If it is not, then consider cutting it from your essay and focusing on what is important for your argument.
6. Use your voice rather than verbose language
The most important step to learning how to cut down a paper is to make sure that you are not just using the passive voice.
The active voice is a better way to write. It is a term in grammar used to classify sentences that have the subject of the sentence as the one actively acting as the verb in the sentence. For example: “We read chapters 1 through 4.” The passive voice would be “Chapters 1 through 4 were read by us.” You can also use this technique when describing how something works or what it does: “The engine was turned on.” This passive version says more about what is happening with the car and less about who is turning on its power source.
Another way to avoid unnecessary words while still maintaining clarity in your writing is by choosing more specific verbs over abstract ones.
Remember, the goal of any good essay is to communicate effectively. It is not meant to be a performance or a piece of literature. If you are writing an essay, then cut back on the word count—it will still be legible and unique.