World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0025707018
Reproduction Date:

Title: Concision  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: User interface, Media bias, Circumcision controversy in early Christianity
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Concision, or brevity, is the art and practice of using no more words than necessary to convey an idea. It aims to improve the effectiveness of communication by eliminating redundancy without omitting important information. Concision has been described as one of the elementary principles of writing.[1]


Concision may involve removing redundant or unnecessary phrases or replacing them with shorter ones. It is described in The Elements of Style by Strunk and White as follows:[1]

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.
—Elementary Principles of Composition, The Elements of Style

Concision has also been described as "eliminat[ing] words that take up space without saying much."[2] Simple examples include replacing "due to the fact that" with "because" or "at this point in time" with "now" or "currently."[3]

An example sentence, with explanation:[2]

"It is a fact that most arguments must try to convince readers, that is the audience, that the arguments are true." Notice the beginning of the sentence: "it is a fact that" doesn't say much; if something is a fact, just present it. So begin the sentence with "most arguments..." and turn to the next bit of overlap. Look at "readers, that is the audience"; the redundancy can be reduced to "readers" or "audience." Now we have "Most arguments must try to convince readers that the arguments are true." Let's get rid of one of the "arguments" to produce "Most arguments must demonstrate (their) truth to readers," or a similarly straightforward expression.

Example paragraph

The following example is taken from:[3]

The author of the poem illustrated various differences between the characters. The poem, which was a romantic poem, showed that each individual character was sort of devious in the way in which he or she did things and behaved. The two characters in the poem, who were named Jim and Dwight, were never definitely and completely honest with each other, which led to the final outcome of them being unhappy. This outcome, which was undesirable, is designed in a way to show the readers just exactly how the author feels about lying and deceit.

This can be replaced with:

The romantic poem showed that its characters were devious. Jim and Dwight, the poem’s two characters, were never honest with each other and ended up unhappy. This undesirable outcome shows the readers how the author feels about lying.

In the second quote, the same information is communicated in less than half the length.

External links

  • Further examples of concision in writing (also contains more links in the sections "Exercises" and "Additional resources")
  • Shearson Editorial Services on concision

See also


  1. ^ a b William Strunk (1918). The Elements of Style. 
  2. ^ a b Program for Writing and Rhetoric, University of Colorado at Boulder. "Writing Tip #27: Revising for Concision and Clarity." Accessed June 19, 2012. Link.
  3. ^ a b UNT Writing Lab. "Concision, Clarity, and Cohesion." Accessed June 19, 2012. Link.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.