This is “Controlling Wordiness and Writing Concisely”, section 17.1 from the book Writers' Handbook (v. 1.0).
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It is easy to let your sentences become cluttered with words that do not add value to what you are trying to say. You can manage cluttered sentences by eliminating repetitive ideas, removing repeated words, and rewording to eliminate unneeded words.
Unless you are providing definitions on purpose, stating one idea in two ways within a single sentence is redundant and not necessary. Read each example and think about how you could revise the sentence to remove repetitive phrasing that adds wordiness. Then study the suggested revision below each example.
Original: Use a very heavy skillet made of cast iron to bake an extra juicy meatloaf.
Revision: Use a cast iron skillet to bake a very juicy meatloaf.
Original: Joe thought to himself, “I think I’ll make caramelized grilled salmon tonight.”
Revision: Joe thought, “I think I’ll make caramelized grilled salmon tonight.”
As a general rule, you should try not to repeat a word within a sentence. Sometimes you simply need to choose a different word. But often you can actually remove repeated words. Read this example and think about how you could revise the sentence to remove a repeated word that adds wordiness. Then check out the revision below the sentence.
Original: The student who won the cooking contest is a very talented and ambitious student.
Revision: The student who won the cooking contest is very talented and ambitious.
If a sentence has words that are not necessary to carry the meaning, those words are unneeded and can be removed to reduce wordiness. Read each example and think about how you could revise the sentence to remove phrasing that adds wordiness. Then check out the suggested revisions to each sentence.
Original: Andy has the ability to make the most fabulous twice-baked potatoes.
Revision: Andy makes the most fabulous twice-baked potatoes.
Original: For his part in the cooking class group project, Malik was responsible for making the mustard reduction sauce.
Revision: Malik made the mustard reduction sauce for his cooking class group project.
Rewrite the following sentences by eliminating unneeded words.