Language: Being Concise

  • Michael Alley


Conciseness follows from pursuing two other language goals: being clear and being forthright. When you make your writing clear and forthright, you also tighten it. Ridding sentences of pretentious diction such as “utilize” and “facilitate” leaves the more concise verbs “use” and “make.” Ridding sentences of abstract nouns such as “factor” and “nature” cuts the fat prepositional phrases that accompany those nouns. This chapter discusses four ways to cut fat in scientific writing: eliminating redundancies, eliminating writing zeroes, reducing sentences to simplest form, and cutting bureaucratic waste.


Scientific Writing Abstract Noun Solar Thermal Energy Solar Thermal Power Solar Energy Research Institute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. Department of Energy, Solar Thermal Technology Annual Evaluation Report (Golden, CO: Solar Energy Research Institute, 1985), p. ii.Google Scholar
  2. Strunk, W., Jr., and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1979), p. 23.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Alley
    • 1
  1. 1.Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer EngineeringVirginia TechBlacksburgUSA

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