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Wordy language

‘Wordy’ expressions

Although you should avoid informal language you should not go to the opposite extreme and use expressions which are too ‘wordy’. When you come to write your first paper, you will usually find that you will have written significantly more than the allowed word count. One way to reduce the number of words is to remove all the unnecessary ones.

Examples

Consider the following:

  • A considerable number of – choose ‘many’
  • A decreased number of – choose ‘fewer’
  • Accounted for by the fact that – choose ‘because’
  • Are of the same opinion – choose ‘agree’
  • Despite the fact that – choose ‘although’
  • Give an account of – choose ‘describe’
  • Has been engaged in a study of – choose ‘has studied’
  • In a number of cases – choose ‘some’
  • In light of the fact that – choose ‘because’
  • In spite of the fact that – choose ‘though/although’
  • More often than not – choose ‘usually’
  • Owing to the fact that – choose ‘since/because/as’
  • Regardless of the fact that – choose ‘even though’
  • Should it prove the case that – choose ‘if’
  • The question as to whether – choose ‘whether’
  • Under circumstances in which – choose ‘when’
  • Was of the opinion that – choose ‘believed’
  • With the possible exception of – choose ‘except’

Example 1

Example: Owing to the fact that geography varies widely in Islamic regions, not all cities developed along the same patterns.

This would be better written as:

Example: Because geography varies widely in Islamic regions, not all cities developed along the same patterns.

Example 2

Example: Other factors can be seen to have a definite influence on international students’ selection of preferred country study destination.

This is too ‘wordy’ and unclear. Although you understand what you mean (because you wrote it), it is likely to confuse your readers, particularly any non-native speakers who are reading your paper in an international journal.

Instead you could write:

Example: Other factors influence international students’ choice of country in which to study.

This is a much clearer and precise use of language.