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How to Reduce Your Essay Word Count

March 11, 2017| Category: Freelance Writing, Writing Tips

While writing essays, you may encounter two essential complications with the word count – your essay may be too short or too long. Both of these options can lower your grade. For those who face the problem of having the word number below the necessary requirements, the best way to handle it is to add some arguments and evidence to your essay, preferably in the body of text. For those who find themselves exceeding the word count permanently, there are some really simple tricks that can help you to reduce the number of words and make your essay a stronger piece of writing at the same time. We offer you to look at the top five smart ways to reduce your essay’s word count, while actually benefiting it. 

How to Reduce Your Essay Word Count

1. Rank Your Arguments. The first thing to do when you find yourself having far above the required word count is to review your arguments and rank them. The idea behind this process is to define which are the strongest and which are the weakest in order to eliminate the latter. In this way, you will be able to make your essay stronger because it will include only unshakable arguments which no one can argue about and at the same time you’ll decrease the word count. In case you feel that all of your arguments are strong and you don’t want to remove any, you can choose the second option, which is to reduce the number of details that you use to describe each argument.

2. Keep Your Focus on the Main Point. When you have ranked the most important points of your essay, look through your essay and try to find all sentences and paragraphs which fail to address these points. It’s very easy to get carried away by your creative drive and to go off on tangents while writing an essay, there’s nothing bad about it. However, it can become a problem if you don’t reread your essay and eliminate these tangents because they add vagueness to your essay and contribute to the unnecessary word count. The more you keep your focus on your main argument, the better your paper will be.

3. Use the Best Verb. This is one of the most obvious pieces of advice to give, yet so many writers fail to follow it. Working on your essay, you should always use the perfect verb, not the one that’s “good enough” or “close”. If you do this, it will reduce the word count greatly and contribute to the quality of your work. It happens because when you use the verb which is not perfect, you end up using more and more words to make the meaning clearer. For instance:

“They have beaten the rival team by a lot of points.”

While “have beaten” is an accurate word in this case, it’s not the perfect verb to be used in this situation, because it’s not just a victory, but a glorious victory since they have beaten them by a number of points, not just by one point. Therefore “trounce” is a much better word for this situation because it reduces the number of word count and conveys the meaning better. Just look at this:

“They have trounced the rival team.”

Sounds better!

4. Remove Adverbs. Take a thorough look at your essay and check it for adverbs, especially those which have “ly” endings. In many cases, these adverbs are used as filler words which don’t contribute any more substance or meaning to your essay. Look through your essay and see if there are unnecessary adverbs to remove them.

5. Remove Adjectives. Another good way to reduce the word count of your essay is to do the same thing with adverbs as you did with adjectives. Very often, multiple adjectives are used, when using just is enough. In some cases they are totally unnecessary, but following our habits – we use them. Go through your essay and remove the adjectives that don’t add to the meaning of your writing. Some of the most popular candidates for removal are words adjective like different, new, bad, first, able, great, other, own, right, young, small, public, early, few, same, old, next, little, important, last, huge.

Good luck with your essays and may your word count be just fine!