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What is Conciseness? (Definition, Examples, Tips)

Conciseness is the ability to express an idea or concept clearly and accurately in a limited number of words. Picking words wisely is another essential part of concise writing. Writing concisely involves more than just ensuring a limited word count. Its goal is to illustrate any concept using powerful and effective language.

Writing and conciseness

It is very easy to develop the habit of wordiness. Many authors write in the same manner as they talk, using redundant words and filler phrases.

Though the sentences may sound natural while writing, using too many words can make it difficult for the reader to understand the concept explained in the text.

Sentences with repetitive, pointless, and filler words are changed or eliminated in concise writing. Writers use several strategies to improve their writing to make it more succinct. Some of them include:


Use straightforward language and avoid pointless “fancy” words

Sometimes authors use fancy or rarely used words and rely too much on the thesaurus to make their text look elegant. But this will reduce the overall clarity of the text. Smart and careful readers will easily spot these unnecessary words, affecting the credibility of the writer.


Fancy sentence: The meeting will commence at eleven in the morning.

Straightforward sentence: The meeting will begin at eleven in the morning.

Substitute commonly used words or phrases

Write more succinctly by swapping out overused and long phrases with meaningful words.


Unconcise sentence: Mary cannot come to the Halloween party due to the reason that she is afraid of spiders.

Concise sentence: Mary cannot come to the Halloween party because she is afraid of spiders.

Avoid passive voice

Sentences in active voices are better at conveying the meaning to the reader. Also, sentences using passive voice need more words and look less appealing.


Active voice: Lily ate the strawberry ice cream.

Passive voice: The strawberry ice cream was eaten by Lily.

Avoid redundant pairs

Some common expressions combine two words with comparable meanings. Use only the stronger word in the redundant pair and eliminate the weaker one.


With redundant pair: The government has introduced a plan to make cities and villages interdependent on each other.

Without redundant pair: The government has introduced a plan to make cities and villages interdependent.

Conciseness example
Conciseness example

Use intensifiers and qualifiers judiciously

Qualifiers are used to either increase or decrease the impact of another word. The issue with qualifiers is that sometimes they can lessen a word’s intensity and make the text seem ambiguous, damaging the credibility of the author.


With qualifiers: May in Addis Ababa is really hot.

Without qualifiers: May in Addis Ababa is scorching.

There are some cases where a qualifier may be indispensable to the sentence. For instance, in the sentence “It will probably snow today,” the qualifier “probably” is necessary. It shows that it may or may not snow on the specified day.

Use positive constructions

When ideas are expressed negatively, more words have to be used. Also, it makes sentences convoluted and difficult to understand.


Negative construction: Anna will not eat rice that has no salt.

Positive construction: Anna will eat rice with salt.


Is it necessary to follow conciseness all the time?

This mainly depends on the author. Though in most cases, it is preferable to be concise, this rule can be broken sometimes. Authors, specifically fiction authors, sometimes use long-winded sentences, often with the aim of attracting the attention of the reader to the said sentence.

Why is it important to write concisely?

Concise writing is important for numerous reasons:

  • The attention span of people is very low in the digital age, begging for short and concise text.
  • Too many words can make the text difficult to understand, and people may lose interest and may not complete the text.


  1. Merriam Webster – conciseness : definition
  2. Wiktionary – conciseness
  3. Grammarly – What Is Conciseness?
  4. MasterClass – 7 Tips for Clear and Concise Writing

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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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