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Using the Principle of Brevity

Pooja D.
06 Mar 0 0

 Say more with fewer words - the principle says that you should eliminate all the words that you can do without.

  • Delete words
    • Words that have little importance or are not useful in a sentence

Ex. She was kind of serious; He was really very upset with the accident

Some more such words could be basically, given, particular, actually, practically, generally, etc.

  • Words that have the same meanings as others already used

Ex. My assignment is full and complete; First and foremost, I need to tell you that he is the most important person on our project; Each and everything was made clear to you.

Some more combinations could be basic and fundamental, hopes and dreams, true and accurate, various and sundry, etc.

  • Words with meanings already implied by other words - redundant

Ex. It is an a unexpected surprise (surprise is always unexpected); The dress was red in color. (red is obviously a color); He was trying to learn Vedic maths - He was learning Vedic maths.

  • Replace phrase with words

Ex. In the case that- if; Concerning the matter of - about; the reason behind - why

  • Make affirmatives out of negatives

Ex. “Not different” - similar; “not the same” - different; not taken into notice - overlooked


If you cannot be clear in your writing then don’t write at all.

But how do you know if the sentence is clear or not? Imagine you are a novice reader of the subject and read your sentence aloud. Can you understand it? Or do you need to read it again?

Thumb Rule: If your reader can understand what you said in a sentence just by reading it once then you have done a good job.

Keep your writing simple, short, sensible, sound, and straightforward.

Ex. I am writing to the Welfare Department to say that my baby was born two years old. When do I get my money? 

Correction: My son was born two years back and I applied for funds to the Welfare Department but I did not receive any. I am going to write a complaint to them.

Ex. I would not ever want to say there are not people on our campus that at first in the classroom are not hard to understand, at least until students get used to them," Watkins said.

Correction: when students are new, they are hard to understand but as people get used to them, they become easier.

Ex. The task force said it looked at hunger as a social problem in which some people cannot obtain adequate amounts of food.

Correction: The task force says that hunger is a social problem as some people are unable to get adequate amounts of food for their living.

Ex. Much too frequently, the criminal escapes the scene of a crime because he manages to escape the visual capability of the responding officers

Correction: Most criminals are able to escape the crime scene as they manage to leave unnoticed by responding officers.

Can you correct this one?

Due to the fact that instructors come from diverse backgrounds and occupy different positions within a given university, both individual and organizational based factors may contribute to the variance in levels of agreement between perceptions.

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