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Suggestions for Concise Writing in Research Manuscripts

Use these tips to edit out unnecessary words in your manuscript.

Suggestions for Concise Writing in Research Manuscripts

When writing an academic research manuscript, being clear and concise is critical. Avoiding unnecessary words can help your readers focus on key information and also helps you stay under word or page limits imposed by your target journal. In a separate article, we explored a few ways to make a manuscript more concise. Here are a few other situations when fewer words may suffice.

Is this information up to date?

Many facts are found in the introduction of a scholarly manuscript. Generally, these facts are assumed to be the newest possible understanding of the field, unless otherwise noted. Thus, when writing your introduction, ask whether it is necessary to remind readers that you are describing the current knowledge of the situation.

  • In the present day, numerous archaeal genomes have been fully sequenced.
    • The phrase in bold could be removed without altering the meaning of the sentence.
  • There are currently known to be seven components of the ATC complex.
    • In this case, the phrase in bold is probably not necessary. A similar phrase may be helpful in cases where a past report (perhaps one describing six ATC components) is being contrasted with the present understanding.

Redundant phrases

Several phrases in academic writing are commonplace and yet partially or entirely redundant. In cases where one word can provide the same meaning as two, opt for the single term. Here are some examples:

Redundant phraseConcise option
absolutely essentialessential
aggregated togetheraggregated
completely filledfilled
end resultresult
fewer in numberfewer
throughout the entire studythroughout the study
whether or notwhether

We hope that this post will give you some more options the next time you need to reduce your word count. As always, send us an email at [email protected] with any questions. Best of luck keep your writing concise and effective!

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