How to Shorten an Essay: Decrease the Word Count, Following Effective Guidelines

You feel exhausted after you have done a lot of writing, and now you are looking at your essay and realize that there is still a lot to do. Now you need to learn how to shorten an essay and meet the limits in the number of characters, words, and pages, keeping the content complete. It is a stressful process that can even scare you as the deadline is probably approaching soon. You need clear ideas and a concise form of the text, so you have to learn how to write simply but very effectively. Excellent writing skills are what every student needs, but it is not possible to master this valuable craft within a few days or hours.

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Having only several hours before the final deadline, you can amend the paper at least a little. Here are the tips for those who need to meet the word count requirements and tighten the written text fast.

  • Take away too many “that”

Excessive use of ‘that’ has spoiled a lot of papers. The quality of writing can get compromised if the students do not polish the text after the final draft is completed. Great papers do not contain too many ‘that’ words. Avoid them or find some efficient alternatives as you need a flawless paper to submit. 

  • Get rid of the auxiliary verbs “do,” “be,” “have”

What is an auxiliary verb? It is a verb for adding functional or grammatical meaning to the corresponding clauses. The brightest examples are aspect, voice, emphasis, and others. Students mostly have a lot of verbs “be,” “have,” and “do” in their papers or essays. It is essential to know how to shorten an essay as it shows that you are ready to maintain high quality throughout the paper. For sure, you cannot eliminate all of those verbs, but there should not be too many of them. The grading of unnecessarily lengthy papers will not be high.

  • Do not use “of,” “at,” “in” often

Shortening the text can be challenging, but you can easily look at the prepositions you use to reduce your favorite “of,”  “at,” and “in.” You do remember that the main purpose of prepositions is to express spatial or temporal relations. Still, you can reduce the number of the most common prepositions to make the text more concise.

  • Make a noun-verb transformation

You should master a ‘verbing’ technique to be able to turn nouns into verbs thus reducing the word count. Have a look at the following examples:

  • She tabled her report. 
  • They eyed outstanding possibilities.
  • She accessed the room with no problem.
  • John authored a story.
  • Friending someone on Instagram is easy.
  • He has not messaged me for long.
  • You are googling new facts all the time.  
  • Have all the excessive adverbs deleted

Adverbs can also create wordiness. What is the key purpose of an adverb? It can modify a specific verb, adjective, clause, sentence, preposition, or determiner. It can express time, place, manner, frequency, certainty degree, and level. In case you are not sure how to shorten an essay, start with the adverbs. Simply delete excessive adverbs which are unnecessary in the text and you will not only make it shorter, but also add to its clarity and perfection.  

  • Use contractions

If lowering the overall word count is a problem for you, you can try making use of contractions in informal. They are capable of making the text shorter and producing a stronger impression with fewer words. For instance, the short options of the sentences look like this:

  • It is one of the most common contractions - It's one of the most common contractions .
  • They are supposed to leave soon - They're supposed to leave soon.
  • Use parenthetical phrases in your essay

What is a parenthetical phrase? It is an impressive phrase or a set of words from a nicely composed list. Your paper will look neat, flawless, and impressive if you make use of the effective parenthetical phrases. This technique can bring you perfect results if you need to make the paragraphs less lengthy. For instance, the following sentence can serve as a good example of how this technique is used:

Joan, a brilliant author, was blind.

Setting off the phrase “a brilliant author” by commas, you show that it is an appositive phrase that serves as a parenthesis.

  • Reduce the number of “to be” phrases

If you ask us, ‘How can I shorten my essay?' we recommend you to consider the use of the ‘to be’ constructions in your text. It is a well-tried technique that makes the texts shorter and boosts the quality of writing. Avoiding this construction, which is among the most typical for the students, you will make the length of the text appropriate and increase the level of writing. A large number of “to be” phrases in your paper is a serious flaw. Two or three times are enough for an essay. In case you have more, it is high time to correct that.

All in all, practice a lot and even if you do not have an essay to be submitted very soon, try to write at least one of the essay sections just to get better via training. You can make use of the professional writing service and hire a writer from there, but if you can polish your essay yorself and improve your skills, why not do that for the sake of your present and future projects?

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You have probably completed some drafts, but you are not sure in their wow effect. You will find a professional writer’s opinion valuable. Let us make your draft more effective and amend its length and word count. We will provide a first-rate comprehensive review of your text as we have excellent writing coaches at PrimeEssay.org. Let us guide you through your college writing drafts. We will be here as soon as you need us to come and help! 

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