Why Use Five Words When One Can Do?

 April 11, 2012

As a writer, sometimes circumstances or mood will force you to take the long way round when you are working on a press release, blog or other form of writing.  We all like finding the most colorful sentence or clever phrase to describe our object but more often than not, a single word will suffice for your purpose.

This isn’t an accusation on your ability as a writer. Sometimes we take it as a professional challenge or an opportunity to show off our skills and ability to use some of the vocabulary we have picked up over the years. But we forget that our real job is to make our writing as clear, concise and readable as possible.

Even the word Circumlocution, which means using many words when one will do, sounds unnecessarily convoluted for its purpose!

We have to face up to the fact that the modern reader with a smartphone, tablet or laptop is a different target audience from previous generations. They are used to reading quicker, smarter and smaller and have a shrinking attention span. If we need to adapt our writing style to our audiences expectations then this is a professional challenge we have to meet.

Old Phrase New Phrase

Afford an opportunity-    Allow, Let
As a means of – To
At this point in time – Now
Due to the fact that – Because
During the period – During
Has a requirement for – Needs
In a timely manner – Quickly, Promptly
In accordance with – By, Following, Per, Under
In advance of – Before
In regard to – About, Concerning, On
In the amount of – For
In the event that – If
In the near future – Soon, Shortly
No later than (date) – By (date)
Pertaining to – About
Provides guidance for – Guides
Under the provisions of – Under
Until such time as – Until
With reference to – About
With the exception of – Except

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