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Editing Strategies

Simplifying Ideas

Essays are designed with a goal in mind. When revising your writing, it can be helpful to simplify your ideas to make sure that goal is clear to your reader. Two helpful ways to simplify your ideas include removing unhelpful repetition and making sentences more concise.

While repeating key content words throughout your paper can help remind your reader of the paper's focus and emphasize key points, be aware of any excessive repetition of words and phrases that may disrupt the flow and style of your writing. 

Look for Words That are Overused


Her business sells wire, and the business is successful throughout the entire business year.

More Concise Example:

Her business sells wire, and it is successful throughout the entire year.


  • Replace nouns with pronouns, but make sure it is clear what noun the pronouns are standing in for
  • Remove some repeated words completely (as long as it doesn't change the sentence's meaning)
  • Utilize synonyms

Look for Sentences Communicating the Same Idea


Her business has become very successful over the past decade. Over the past ten years, her profits have risen.

Concise Version:

Over the past ten years, her business's profits have risen.


  • Watch for places where you say the exact same thing using different words
  • Keep the sentence where you explain the idea in the most specific, simple way. Many peoples' writing tends to follow our thought process where we start with a vague idea, and then clarify it as we work through the concept. 
  • Consider bborrowing multiple sentences together into one


Many peoples' minds tend to think in very wordy ways, and this often becomes apparent in the first draft of any writing. When revising your writing, look for places that you can say things more directly and clearly using fewer words.

Shorten Unnecessary Long Phrases


Our team took an adequate amount of time to complete the study.

Concise Version:

Our team took enough time to complete the study.

Simplify Your Verbs


We need to make a decision by Wednesday.

Concise Version:

We need to decide by Wednesday.