ⓘ Concision is using only the words necessary to convey an idea. It aims to enhance communication by eliminating redundancy without omitting important information ..


ⓘ Concision

Concision is using only the words necessary to convey an idea. It aims to enhance communication by eliminating redundancy without omitting important information. Concision has been described as one of the elementary principles of writing. The related concept of succinctness is the opposite of verbosity.


1. Description

Concision means to be economical with words, expressing what is needed using the fewest words necessary. That 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:

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.

Concision has also been described as "eliminat" with "because" or "at this point in time" with "now" or "currently."

An example sentence, with explanation:

"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" doesnt 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." Lets get rid of one of the "arguments" to produce "Most arguments must demonstrate their truth to readers," or a similarly straightforward expression.


2. Example paragraph

The following example is taken from:

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.

The source suggests this replacement:

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. However, it could be more concisely rewritten and communicate the same information:

The romantic poem’s characters, Jim and Dwight, were dishonest with each other and ended up unhappy, showing the authors feelings about lying.


3. Teaching concise expression

Concise expression, particularly in writing, is considered one of the basic goals of teaching the English language. Techniques to achieve concise writing are taught for students at all levels, from the introduction to writing to the preparation of PhD dissertations, and legal writing for law students.

It has been argued that although "in expository prose English places a high value on conciseness. he value placed on conciseness. is not shared by all cultures", with, for example, the Thai culture as one where redundancy is prized as an opportunity to use additional words to demonstrate the writers command of the language. This may lead to a tendency for people from those cultures to use repetitive or redundant phrasing when learning English.


4. Succinctness

The related concept of succinctness is a characteristic of speech, writing, data structure, algorithmic games, and thought in general, exhibiting both clarity and brevity. It is the opposite of verbosity, in which there is an excess of words.

Brevity in succinctness is not achieved by shortening original material by coding or compressing it, but rather by omitting redundant material from it.

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