This handout will allow you to revise your papers for word-level quality, eradicate wordiness and steer clear of clichйs, find the words that best express your opinions, and select words that suit an audience that is academic.

Exactly exactly What this handout is all about


Composing is a number of alternatives. You choose your topic, your approach, your sources, and your thesis; when it’s time to write, you have to choose the words you will use to express your ideas and decide how you will arrange those words into sentences and paragraphs as you work on a paper. While you revise your draft, you will be making more alternatives. You could ask yourself, “Is this really the things I mean?” or “Will visitors understand why?” or “Does this noise good?” Finding terms that capture your meaning and convey that meaning to your readers is challenging. Whenever your teachers compose things such as “awkward,” “vague,” or “wordy” in your draft, these are typically helping you discover which they want you to function on term option. This handout will explain some typical dilemmas associated to term choice and provide you with approaches for finding the right terms as you revise your drafts.

As you read further to the handout, remember that it may sometimes just take additional time to “save” terms from your own initial phrase than to compose a whole new phrase to convey the exact same meaning or concept. Don’t be too attached with that which you’ve currently written; you may be able to choose words with greater clarity if you are willing to start a sentence fresh.

For advice on making bigger revisions, have a look at our handouts on reorganizing drafts and drafts that are revising.

“Awkward,” “vague,” and “unclear” word option

Therefore: you compose a paper which makes sense that is perfect you, nonetheless it comes home with “awkward” scribbled through the entire margins. Why, you wonder, are teachers so fond of terms like “awkward”? Many trainers utilize terms such as this to attract your focus on sentences that they had trouble understanding also to encourage one to rewrite those sentences more demonstrably.

Difficulty with term choice aren’t the only reason behind awkwardness, vagueness, or any other difficulties with quality. Often a phrase is difficult to follow while there is a problem that is grammatical it or due to the syntax (what sort of phrases and words are positioned together). The pizza ended up being quickly consumed. right here’s an illustration: “Having finished with learning” This sentence is not difficult to realize due to the expressed words I chose—everybody understands exactly just just what learning, pizza, and eating are. The situation let me reveal that visitors will obviously assume that first little bit of the sentence “(Having finished with studying”) goes with all the noun that is next follows it—which, in this instance, is “the pizza”! It does not make large amount of feeling to mean that the pizza had been learning. The thing I ended up being really wanting to express ended up being something a lot more like this: “Having finished with studying, the learning pupils quickly consumed the pizza.” For those who have a phrase that’s been marked “awkard,” “vague,” or “unclear,” you will need to think of it from the reader’s point of view—see if you’re able to tell where it changes direction or makes away important info.

Sometimes, though, issues with quality are a matter of term option. See in the event that you recognize some of these dilemmas:

  • Misused words—the word doesn’t actually suggest exactly exactly what the author believes it will.
    Example: Cree Indians were a monotonous tradition until French and British settlers arrived.
    Revision: Cree Indians had been a homogenous tradition.
  • Words with unwelcome connotations or definitions.
    Example: we sprayed the ants inside their personal places.
    Modification: we sprayed the ants within their hiding places.
  • Making use of a pronoun whenever visitors can’t inform whom/what it refers to.
    Example: My relative Jake hugged my cousin Trey, even like him very much though he didn’t.
    Revision: My relative Jake hugged my cousin Trey, despite the fact that Jake doesn’t like Trey truly.
  • Jargon or technical terms that make visitors work unnecessarily difficult. Perhaps you need certainly to utilize many of these terms in in order to “sound smart. because they’re essential terms in your industry, but don’t throw them”
    Example: The dialectical screen between neo-Platonists and anti-disestablishment Catholics offers an algorithm for deontological idea.
    Revision: The discussion between neo-Platonists and specific Catholic thinkers is really a model for deontological idea.
  • Loaded language. Often we as authors know very well what we suggest with a word that is certain but we now haven’t ever spelled that out for visitors. We depend too greatly on that term, possibly saying it frequently, without clarifying that which we are speaking about.
    Example: Society shows girls that beauty is the many essential quality. So that you can prevent eating problems along with other health issues, we ought to alter culture.
    Modification: modern American popular news, like mags and movies, instruct girls that beauty is the many essential quality. To be able to prevent eating problems along with other health conditions, the images must be changed by us and part models girls can be obtained.

Often the situation is not selecting exactly the right term to show an idea—it’s being “wordy,” or utilizing terms that the audience may regard as “extra” or inefficient. Take a good look at the after list for a few examples. In the left are a few phrases which use three, four, or higher terms where less can do; from the right are a handful of shorter substitutes:

Look out for wordy constructions in your writing and discover when you can change all of them with more succinct terms or expressions.

In academic writing, it is a good notion to curb your utilization of clichйs. Clichйs are catchy phrases that are little commonly used they have become trite, corny, or irritating. They’ve been problematic because their overuse has diminished their effect and since they need a few terms where just one single would do.

The way that is main avoid clichйs is first to recognize them then to produce smaller, fresher equivalents. Think about if you have one word meaning the thing that is same the clichй. When there isn’t, is it possible to make use of 2 or 3 terms to convey the concept your very own means? Below you will notice five clichйs that is common with a few options for their right. As a challenge, observe how alternatives that are many can cause when it comes to last two examples.

Composing for the audience that is academic

You have to think not only about what makes sense and sounds best to you, but what will make sense and sound best to your readers when you choose words to express your ideas. Thinking regarding your audience and their objectives will allow you to make choices about term choice.

Some article writers believe educational audiences anticipate them to “sound smart” by making use of big or technical terms. Nevertheless the many goal that is important of writing is certainly not to seem smart—it is always to communicate a disagreement or information plainly and convincingly. It is a fact that educational writing possesses style that is certain of very very own and that you, being a pupil, are starting to understand to read through and compose for the reason that design. You will probably find your self utilizing terms and grammatical constructions which you did use that is n’t your senior school writing. The risk is that if you consciously attempt to “sound smart” and employ terms or structures which can be extremely unknown for your requirements, you could create sentences your visitors can’t know.

Whenever composing for your professors, think convenience. Making use of simple terms will not suggest thoughts that are simple. Within an educational argument paper, why is the thesis and argument advanced would be the connections provided in simple, clear language.

Consider, though, that simple and clear does not suggest casual. Many trainers won’t be happy in case the paper seems like a immediate message or an e-mail to a pal. It is frequently better to avoid slang and colloquialisms. Have a look at this instance and have your self how a professor would probably answer it if it had been the thesis declaration of the paper: “Moulin Rouge actually bit as the singing sucked additionally the costume colors had been nasty, KWIM?”

Picking and utilizing search terms

Whenever composing papers that are academic it is beneficial to find search terms and make use of them within your paper along with your thesis. This area commentary regarding the important distinction between repetition and redundancy of terms and works through a typical example of utilizing search terms in a thesis declaration.

Repetition vs. redundancy

Both of these phenomena are definitely not exactly the same. Repetition could be a positive thing. Often we need to make use of our terms that are key times inside a paper, specially in topic sentences. Often there is certainly hardly any replacement for the terms that are key and picking out a weaker term as a synonym can perform more damage than good. Saying terms emphasizes crucial points and signals towards the audience that the argument continues to be being supported. This type of repetition can provide your paper cohesion and it is carried out by aware option.

In comparison, when you are frustrated, tiredly saying exactly the same nouns, verbs, or adjectives, imperative link or making the exact same point over and over repeatedly, maybe you are being redundant. In this situation, you will be swimming aimlessly round the exact same points as you haven’t determined exactly what your argument is really or as you are truly fatigued and clarity escapes you. Relate to the “Strategies” section below for a few ideas on revising for redundancy.

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