Tag Archive - wordiness

Circumlocution at Its Best (or Worst)

I love the word circumlocution. I never really have an opportunity to use it, so I’m creating one here. It means “the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea.” I actually found a great spot for it in my fantasy novel The Unraveling of Wentwater. But I doubt the word will show up in too many of my novels. The idea is to avoid wordiness, and so many of us seem to just pack in those extraneous words into our sentences, which would read so much better if we chopped the bulk of them out and pared down. I’ve come to love a nice, concise, clear sentence and so I strive to trim the fat (which is bad for you, right?).

Here are some phrases that can be reduced to a simpler expression:

  • a large portion of (many)
  • are in possession of (have)
  • at this point in time (now)
  • in spite of the fact that (although)
  • in the not-too-distant future (soon)
  • in the vicinity of (near)
  • put in an appearance (appear)
  • take into consideration (consider)
  • made a statement saying (said, stated)

Think about reading through your manuscript with the idea of boiling down wordy phrases into the simplest form–like you did in that chemistry class in school ( and hopefully didn’t burn the Bunsen burner). You may find that a goodly number of words (many) are far and beyond (more) than you absolutely must without fail have (need). Happy writing!