69 Mini-Grammar Review: Creating Clear, Complete, and Specific Sentences

Dr. Karen Palmer

Sometimes writers clutter their writing with unnecessary words or phrases, which can create writing that is boring. While this can be unintentional, some students add these words and phrases in an effort to meet a word count requirement. Unfortunately, this solution takes a lot of effort and results in sub-par writing. In addition, instructors notice this tactic.

Here are some tips for avoiding wordy writing:

  • Use active voice
  • Avoid expletives (There are, There is, It is)
  • Avoid using inflated vocabulary
  • Get rid of “that”
  • Avoid repetition
  • Eliminate words like really, actually, so, just, totally, and quite

If you find yourself short on words, it’s likely that your paper is missing an important element of the assignment or that you’ve chosen a topic that is not suitable. Rather than try to extend your paper with unnecessary words, look for additional examples to support your points. Make sure you have sufficient background information. Check to see that you have at least one quote from an outside source per paragraph. Make sure each quote is surrounded by your own words.

Content created by Dr. Karen Palmer and licensed under CC BY NC.


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