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Academic editing help: what words to avoid

When it comes to editing your academic writing, there a number of things you should look out for. Remember that no matter how good the research and writing has been in creating the essay, there are always ways to improve it. One of the biggest problems in academic writing is the inability to use fewer words. The expression is wordiness and it is a disease sadly from which many writers of academic essays suffer. If you are one of these sufferers, how do you overcome the problem? There is a saying in the garment industry that you should ignore the quality and measure the width. That is a false and misleading piece of advice and it applies equally to academic editing. Quality is everything.

Is it necessary?

This question can be asked of your entire essay when broken down into single sentences. Take a single sentence and apply the test. Is every word in that sentence necessary? If you removed a word or words from that particular sentence, would it change the meaning? If it doesn't change the meaning than the obvious answer is that it is not necessary. Remove it. Wordiness may be a disease but it can be cured.

Is it repetitious?

This is a common situation. The writer of the academic essay says the same thing but in different ways. In other words it is repetitious. Less is more applies to all forms of writing and particularly to academic writing. You make the point and then you move on to something else. You don't make the point and then make the point again only using different words. Avoid repetition.

You don't need qualifiers

So many writers overuse certain words and a perfect example is the word very. Something is very hot or someone is a very angry. Yes it is possible to argue that there is a difference between very angry and angry but is it necessary to use the qualifier? Does it impact the impact of your writing? It is often very unnecessary to use very on very many occasions.

Forget the thesaurus

Many people involved in academic writing think that their editing will be improved if they drag out a dictionary and select a variety of appropriate words. That is not necessarily true. What really counts is clarity of meaning and if you use simple words and more accessible words, the better your academic writing will be.