Proofers Blog

Proofreading and Editing tips…

4 Aug

Cutting out irrelevancies

Academic writing is designed, above all else, to convey precise and detailed information in a way which is accessible to an informed reader. Word counts are often specific and factual data is often central to the argument or discussion presented. In good academic writing there is no space for fluffy phrases or generalised commentary which neither adds to a particular point nor contributes to the flow of the argument.

When we are writing a piece of work it is all too easy for imprecise phraseology and long-winded explanations to creep in as we put down our thoughts. Consequently, one of the most important things you can do to improve your academic writing is to read through your piece, once it is completed, searching specifically for unclear, unnecessary or excessively lengthy phrases and sentences.

Academic writing does not necessarily need gentle introductory sentences. You can cut straight to the chase by stating your key fact immediately before discussing it. Be brutal about deleting comments like: ‘The research showed up some interesting results’ and ‘Through the course of the research we found evidence to both support and undermine the premise.’ They add nothing of any importance and use up valuable words.

Additionally, it is helpful to see if you can reduce your word count by tightening up your sentence structure. Instead of ‘The evidence which has been presented above shows that the hypothesis which was advanced at the beginning of the study has been proved’ try ‘The results of this study prove the hypothesis posited.’ Cut out parentheses which interfere with meaning and don’t be afraid to use short, clear sentences where they convey meaning as adequately as something more convoluted.

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