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Grammarly: Wordiness


Wordiness can have several causes, and long, complex sentences can sometimes be difficult for readers to understand. There is no rule that academic writing can’t use short, clear sentences. In fact, "the author who is frugal with words not only writes a more readable manuscript but also increases the chances that the manuscript will be accepted for publication... tighten long papers by eliminating redundancy, wordiness, jargon, evasiveness, overuse of the passive voice, circumlocution, and clumsy prose" (American Psychological Association, 2010, p. 67).

In this paper, Grammarly has identified 10 instances of wordiness:

screen shot of grammarly feedback

The student has written the following:

It is important to take the definitions of intelligence and give that meaning back to the learner and those that work closely with the learner for learning success.

Excessive use of clauses here (to the learner, and those that work closely… and for learning success) as well as repetition of the words learner and learning make this sentence seem wordy. The student could edit this sentence and make it easier to read:

For academic success, both learners and instructors must be familiar with the definitions of intelligence.

The new sentence is shorter and avoids repetition, but it has not lost any meaning.

The Writing Center has a great resource on smoothness and economy of expression at Precision, Clarity, & Academic Expression.