Write Well: Cutting Your Prose


Hi, I’m Adrienne Christiansen
of Political Science, and I’m here at my home
in northern Minnesota in order to make
a point about why you must cut unnecessary
words from your prose. Students often don’t want
to revise their work, because doing so would
require them to cut words that they have already written. Or some students believe that
more words are better words, but it’s not true. If you allow your paragraphs
to have too many ideas, you risk choking out all of the
things that you want to say. Just like these
beautiful pines here. There are eight of them in
an area one yard square. Sometimes you’ll
use a different tool and simply transplant from one
idea in a paragraph to another. And in other cases, you’re
going to have to cut altogether. Cut unnecessary words,
transplant ideas into different
paragraphs, and do so in order to allow the
most healthy of your ideas to flourish. Good luck and write well.

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