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How to shorten an essay

by tutlance
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Many students dread the idea of having to shorten an essay and reduce the word count. This is because the first thing they think of is removing whole paragraphs and maybe even sentences. However, if you follow this guide and use some creative ways to save those valuable words, then you’ll soon reduce your word count!

Having too many words in essay can make your assignment look messy and cause confusion. Before you know it, you’ll have to write another paragraph for contradicting ideas or concepts, which will leave you with more words that you need! Even worse, your lecturer might think that the original essay wasn’t good enough and then they’ll give you a lower grade. Now isn’t that just awful?!

So, I’m going to explain the best ways to shorten your essay. If you can do this then you’ll gain a better mark in the end!

Note: If you find yourself having trouble with your essay length or word count after following these tips, you should seek professional essay help. Tutlance is a top online essay writing service that can quickly help you meet the right essay word count.

15 ways on how to shorten an essay and reduce the word count fast

Here are some tips to cut down essay word count!

1. Remove transition sentences within paragraphs.

For example: “It may be easy for someone who has never had these problems to say it’s simple.”

This sentence is useful to explain that someone might not understand the topic, therefore it should stay in the essay. However, if you’re removing word “these” it would not alter the meaning of the sentence.

2. Remove unnecessary explanations and signs of writing that are used purely for dramatic effect.

For example: “We all know how hard it is to get up at seven o’clock in the morning.”

Shortened sentence: “We all know how hard it is to get up at 7am.”

That’s what this sentence is trying to say, so you can take out “in the morning” because it’s not necessary. It also adds an extra two words that are completely irrelevant to your essay. So, remove the words “in the” and you’ll save two words!

3. Use short sentences.

Make use of short sentences to cut down on the total word count of your paper.

For example:

“I think it’s obvious that reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

This sentence should be written in full because it’s many different ideas that should be explained fully. However, if you’d like to merge this sentence into a more long-winded one, then that’s fine. Write:

“Reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

If you have just said something obvious then there is no need to add on an explanation after it because the reader has already understood your point. So, if you can reduce sentences like this in your essay, you’ll gain many word count points!

4. Write short paragraphs.

For example:

“This will ensure that the outcome is more focused on improving your writing skills.”

This sentence should be written in full because it’s one idea that needs to be explained better. However, if you’d like to merge this sentence into a more long-winded one, then that’s fine. Write:

“This will ensure that the outcome is more focused on improving your writing skills.”

If you have just said something obvious in a paragraph and there is no need to add on an explanation after it because the reader has already understood your point. So, if you can merge sentences like this in your essay, you’ll gain many word count points!

5. Use short forms for words instead of long ones.

For example:

“I think it’s obvious that reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

This sentence should be written in full because it’s many different ideas that should be explained fully. However, if you’d like to merge this sentence into a more long-winded one, then that’s fine. Write:

“Reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

If you have just said something obvious in a paragraph and there is no need to add on an explanation after it because the reader has already understood your point. So, if you can merge sentences like this in your essay, you’ll gain many word count points!

6. Cut down on the number of adjectives and adverbs used.

To reduce the number of words in an essay, you can decide to cut down on the number of adjectives and adverbs used. This is a great way of saving word count because adjectives and adverbs aren’t always needed. For example:

“This essay prompt requires you to write about a personal hero.”

Shortened sentence: “This essay prompt requires you to write about a hero.”

In this case, the things that the adjective “personal” describe are already clear from the context. Therefore, you can take out the adjective “personal” because it’s not necessary.

7. Remove filler words and phrases which are unnecessary.

Some examples of filler words and phrases are:

“I think…”

“It’s noticeable that… “”

“There are many reasons that… ”

These words and phrases are pointless so take them out. They don’t really have an effect on your writing so it’s okay to remove them.

Filler words do not add value to your academic essay. They are not needed. If you remove any filler words, you’ll gain reduce the number of words significantly!

8. Re-word sentences to get rid of any unnecessary words.

For example:

“This is the best way it can be done.”

“This is the best way of doing it.”

In this case, you only need to remove one word (“it”) from this sentence because there are lots of ways to do something and “the best way” is obvious from the context.

9. Combine sentences with similar ideas to remove unnecessary words.

To combine sentences, you can rewrite one of them in a more concise manner so that they have the same idea but only one sentence. For example:

“This will ensure better focus on improving your writing skills.”

“You must be able to reduce the amount of words in your essay.”

Combined sentences: “If you’re able to focus on improving your writing skills, then that will help towards reducing the number of words.”

This makes it clearer that both sentences are talking about focusing on improving writing skills. However, if you’d like to merge this sentence into a more long-winded one, then that’s fine. Write:

“This will ensure better focus on improving your writing skills. This is the first step you need to take if you want to reduce the amount of words in your essay.”

Combining sentences like this will save you lots of word count because you can use one sentence instead of two.

10. Remove any unnecessary introductory words in sentences to make them more concise.

“Apparently, it has been found out that reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

Shortened sentence: “Reducing essay length will give you a better mark.”

In this case, the introductory word “Apparently” is unnecessary because it’s already clear from the context that you are talking about something being found out.

11. Use active voice instead of passive voice.

To reduce the number of words in an essay, you can decide to use active voice instead of passive voice. This is a great way of saving word count because active voice only contains the subject and verb whereas with passive voice, there are more words involved. For example:

Passive voice: “Hundreds of people were killed.”

Active voice: “The man killed hundreds of people.”

In this case, the active version only has two words. However, in the passive voice version, there are three words involved (“were”, “was” and “killed”). This means that using passive voice will add extra word count to your essay so it’s best not to use it.

12. Eliminate Conjunctions

Using “and” or “but” in sentences is a great way to make them more concise. For example:

“I bought this dress yesterday and it’s beautiful.”

Shortened sentence: “I bought this beautiful dress yesterday.”

In this case, you only need to use one word here because both parts of the sentence are describing the same thing. This means that it doesn’t really matter which one you use as long as you merge them together into one sentence.

13. Reduce words in sentences to eliminate dependent clauses:

“If we consider the fact that children are a good investment, then we can see how they will be able to contribute positively to society.”

Shortened sentence: “Children are a good investment so we can see how they will contribute positively to society.”

In this case, starting off with the dependent clause “If we consider the fact that children are a good investment” and ending the sentence with another one (“then we can see how they will contribute positively to society”) is a good way of using more words. However, if you’d like to make this sentence shorter, then you can use shortening devices such as “so” or “therefore”. For example:

Shortened sentence: “Children are a good investment so we can see how they will contribute positively to society.”

14. Use the simplest word possible:

Using simple words in sentences is a great way to make your essay sound much more concise. For example, instead of using the word “utilize”, you can use “use”. Instead of using “criteria”, you can just say “standard” or “requirements”. However, it’s best not to go overboard with this and use simple words for everything because this will make your essay sound very basic and unprofessional.

15. Use contractions:

“We cannot ignore the fact that people should limit their usage of social media as it can be detrimental to social skills.”

Shortened sentence: “People should limit their usage of social media as it can be detrimental to social skills.”

Using contractions can make your writing more concise because you’re able to shorten words by removing the extra letter at the end of them. However, it’s worth noting that you shouldn’t use too many contractions in formal essays because this will make them sound less formal. Also, some teachers are against using contractions in writing assignments so make sure you check with your teacher before using them.

These are 15 best ways to shorten an essay and reduce the word count to match your teacher’s requirements. However, if you’re looking for more ways to write a shorter essay, then using words with less syllables is always a good place to start. For example, instead of using “utilize”, you can use “use”. Instead of writing “criteria”, you can just say “standard” or “requirements”. This technique alone is a solution to your question on how to cut 100 words from an essay easily and fast.

15 Ways to Make an Essay Shorter

  1. Remove transition sentences within paragraphs,
  2. Remove unnecessary explanations and signs of writing that are used purely for dramatic effect.,
  3. Use short sentences,
  4. Write short paragraphs,
  5. Use short forms for words instead of long ones.,
  6. Cut down on the number of adjectives and adverbs used.
  7. Remove filler words and phrases which are unnecessary
  8. Re-word sentences to get rid of any unnecessary words
  9. Combine sentences with similar ideas to remove unnecessary words
  10. Remove any unnecessary introductory words in sentences
  11. Use active voice instead of passive voice
  12. Eliminate conjunctions
  13. Reduce words in sentences to eliminate dependent clauses
  14. Use the simplest word possible
  15. Use contractions

Using these 15 tips and tricks will definitely help you write a shorter essay that will let your teacher focus on the more important parts of it, rather than wasting their time looking for loopholes.

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