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Do you have a habit of rambling, not just when you speak but also when you write? Maybe you know you need to learn how to write concise sentences and paragraphs but just don’t know how. Or maybe you’re a wordy writer and aren’t aware of it. Whatever your blind spot is, we’ve got a tip that will help you get straight to the point with your web copy, blog posts, and reports. It’ll help you learn how to write concise sentences and paragraphs by cutting them in half (or almost in half).

How concise can you make your sentences and paragraphs?

Cutting a sentence or paragraph in half may sound like a radical move. And in some ways, it is. If you aim to cut a sentence exactly in half, you might not make it. But you’ll push yourself to get close. Remember that elementary school motivational poster, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”? It’s the same idea. When you’re thinking about how to write concise sentences and paragraphs, aim high.

When you start to trim your sentences and paragraphs, you’ll find that it’s relatively easy to do it, at least in the beginning. Why? Because we write wordy sentences. Especially when we’re trying to show someone that we have enough to say on a topic, we tend to add all sorts of extra words to our sentences. The result? Bloated sentences and paragraphs.

Get your sentences and paragraphs back into shape by cutting unnecessary phrases, removing filler words, and swapping long words for short ones. If you put these strategies into practice, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to write concise sentences and paragraphs. Don’t worry – it’s not that hard. We’re going to show you how to do it like a pro.

How to write concise sentences

The first step of learning how to write concise sentences and paragraphs is learning how to trim sentences. Let’s say that we’ve written the following sentence:

  • “The energy benefits of apples come from the type of substances that make up a big part of the matter in apples: vitamins and minerals.”

That’s a pretty wordy sentence, so let’s cut it down:

  • “Apples provide an energy boost because they contain lots of vitamins and minerals.”

Is that better? This sentence isn’t quite half the length of the first one (13 words vs. 23), but it is a lot shorter. So how did we cut this sentence down? We removed all of the words and phrases that weren’t necessary:

  • We swapped the wordy noun phrases “the energy benefits of apples” for a short noun and an active verb (“apples provide an energy boost”)
  • We replaced an unnecessarily long chain of words (“come from the type of substances that make up a big part of the matter in”) with a shorter chain of words (“because they contain lots of”)

Of course, the words that you’ll remove from a particular sentence will depend on the words the original sentence contains. But a good rule of thumb is to identify the words that carry key pieces of meaning in a sentence and try to get rid of as many of the others as you can.

In the original sentence above, our keys words are “apples,” “energy,” and “vitamins and minerals.” This is what we get if we include just these words in the sentence:

  • “Apples energy vitamins and minerals.”

Remember, though, that we also want to express that apples increase energy levels because they contain lots of vitamins and minerals. This means we need to add words like “boost” and “lots of.” When we do that, we get this:

  • “Apples energy boost lots of vitamins and minerals.”

Once you’ve identified these key pieces, all you need to do is add in the minimum number of words to make your sentence clear and grammatical. Here’s how we would do this with our example sentence:

  • “Apples provide an energy boost because they contain lots of vitamins and minerals.”

See? That wasn’t so hard, was it?

How to write concise paragraphs

Now that you’re a pro at deconstructing and rewriting sentences, let’s do the same thing with paragraphs. Because paragraphs are made up of strings of sentences, you’re learning how to write concise paragraphs when you learn how to write concise sentences. However, there’s one extra trick you can learn when you’re working with full paragraphs. Let’s take a look at this example to see how this extra trick works:

  • “The energy benefits of apples come from the type of substances that make up a big part of the matter in apples: vitamins and minerals.” Vitamins and minerals have an impact on energy levels by providing the body with key components it needs to produce energy. Vitamins and minerals come in all different forms. If you eat foods that contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, you will feel as though you have a lot of energy.”

Whew! That’s one wordy paragraph. It’s not particularly long, but it contains a lot of words and phrases that it doesn’t really need. That’s why it’s so important to work through how to write concise sentences and paragraphs. Let’s see how we can make this particular paragraph more concise:

  • “Apples provide an energy boost because they contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals increase energy levels by providing substances the body needs to produce energy. If you eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals, you will feel energized.”

Again, we didn’t cut the paragraph exactly in half, but we were able to shorten it substantially. How did we do it? We trimmed the first, second, and fourth sentences in the paragraph using the same technique we described above.

And that third sentence? We cut it out altogether – this is the extra trick we were talking about. The third sentence didn’t provide information that contributed to the paragraph, so we got rid of it. When you’re learning how to write concise sentences and paragraphs, you can’t be afraid to let words and full sentences go.

Bringing It All Together

Learning how to write concise sentences and paragraphs isn’t impossible. You just need to know a few techniques to help you get there. As the examples above show you, you can learn how to write concise sentences and paragraphs by always returning to this question: How can I express the same information with fewer words? Focus on the words that provide key meaning in the sentence and trim your paragraphs by leaving unnecessary words and sentences out. That’s all there is to it at the end of the day.

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Want more tips on how to write concise sentences and paragraphs? Check out our popular post on 16 tips for writing concisely and reducing your word count.
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How to write concise sentences and paragraphs
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