Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Excess verbiage

Because verbiage is by definition an excess of words, the phrases excess verbiage and excessive verbiage are redundant.  Notice this example from a writing guide at George Mason University, and also the examples provided. All too wordy and pretentious.

Excess verbiage
Effective writing requires elimination of excess verbiage. The value of concise writing is stated in quotes below from some noted authors.
‘The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.’ Hans Hoffman
‘Often I think writing is sheer paring away of oneself leaving always something thinner, barer, more meager.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald
‘I believe more in the scissors that I do in the pencil.’ Truman Capote
One technique for eliminating excess verbiage is to scrutinize a wordy passage, underline those phrases that contain hard information, and then rewrite the passage using only the underlined portions.

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