I have a confession! My favourite blog post of all time is about wordiness and how academic writers can avoid it. It's written by the American Psychological Association. Yes, the people who brought you APA style.
I reference this APA blog post regularly because the points it makes are valuable and relevant. Not many university and academic writers know about wordiness or this post, so I continually come across phrases such as "in order to," "it is interesting to note," or "it is important to note."
I know what you're thinking: "What's wrong with saying that?"
Or "Doesn't that make my writing sound more academic and important?"
The answer to the first question is that you don't need to say these things, and your writing will be stronger without them.
The answer to the second question is a flat out "no." It makes you sound pompous and makes your writing fluffy--as in "too much air."
And if you hire an editor—let me clarify—if you hire a good editor, she or he is going to remove or suggest you remove these words.
Let's face it. You're writing a thesis or dissertation. Isn't everything you write important or noteworthy? It should be. Therefore, let the material stand on its own. Trust it. If it can't stand on its own, should it be included? Hmmm, good question.
So, my greatest gift to all academic writers out there—well, those who read this—read this wonderful APA blog post. Bookmark or print it out. Make it your friend. Let it help you with your word count.
Principles of Writing: How to Avoid Wordiness
That's right! APA isn't just a citing and referencing system. It has pages and pages--and blog posts, too—of great writing advice. Can't think anything more boring to read? Then, hire an editor! :-)
While we're on the topic of pomposity, here is another great post about use vs. utilize. They are not the same cup of tea! Grammar Girl covers it better than any other writeup I've found.
By the way, APA has a panel of experts, and when you're stuck with a challenging APA question, you can write them and ask the answer. Check with me first, though. There's a good chance I can help you more quickly. They take 24 to 48 hours to respond.
Not everyone can afford to hire an academic editor. Have your read Self-Editing Tip for University and Academic Writers #1? And Self-Editing Tip #2?
Meet the Editor
I'm Coreen, and I am a copy editor, writer, instructor, digital marketer, and student of PR and Communications for organizations doing positive work in the world.