Tips for More Effective Technical Writing

Tip #5 CONCISENESS Pt.1     簡潔性

Basic Guidelines
Use only the minimum number of words to communicate your message. Readers will then sense that the writer is NOT wasting (stealing?) their time!

One very common error in good writing is overly using the preposition "of" when direct modification without "of" proves more concise provided no change in meaning occurs.

Guidelines for More Concise Style
1. Avoid overly using "of"
2. Avoid using words that repeat other words needless redundancy
3. Avoid using words whose meaning your reader can infer without mistake
4. Use a clause instead of a phrase whenever possible
5. Use a phrase instead of a word whenever possible
「の」はすぐ「of」にしないこと
冗長的な単語を簡潔へ
間違いなく推測できれば、その単語を簡潔へ
節より句
句より一単語

1. Avoid overly using "of"

Original the color of the car
Correct the car color

Avoid replacing [ of ] with [ 's ] merely for the sake of trying to be more concise. The [ 's ] is used with animate objects (Joe's thesis), or when personifying (擬人化) a generally-accepted inanimate thing.

Incorrect the car's color
Correct the car color
Correct The research investment of the Japanese government. inanimate, abstract
Correct The Japanese government's research investment. animate, personified

What to do:

1. Avoid overly using "of"

1. ORIGINAL
The membrane provides an important platform for biological functions such as transport of needed materials, adoption of information of environment, and production of continuous energy.
1. REVISED
The membrane provides an important platform for biological functions such as needed materials transport, environment information adoption, and continuous energy production.
(use nouns to stress concepts)

The membrane provides an important platform for biological functions such as transporting needed materials, adopting environment information, and producing continuous energy production.
(use verb forms to stress actions)

2. ORIGINAL
The protocol has two critical points: the dissection of larvae and the power of the lasers (16)
2. REVISED
The protocol has two critical points: larvae dissection and laser power. (11)

2. Avoid words that repeat other word: needless redundancy

REDUNDANT SUFFICIENT (=concise)
basic fundamentals
completely finish
consensus of opinion
final outcome
future plans
important essentials
past history
personal beliefs
prepare in advance
sudden crisis
terrible tragedy
true facts
various different
continue to remain
first time ever
habitual custom
hot water heater
more preferable
necessary requirement
new beginner
original source
projected forecast
protrude out
regularly consistent
unite together
basic (practical) fundamentals (theoretical)
finish
consensus
outcome
future
essentials
history
beliefs
prepare
crisis
tragedy
facts
different
remain
first time
custom or habit
water heater
preferable
requirement
beginner
source
forecast or projection
protrude
consistent
unite

3. Avoid using words whose meaning your reader can infer without mistake

3. ORIGINAL
The authors have addressed all the reviewers' concerns, and we definitely feel that the quality of the revised manuscript has greatly improved compared to the original (previous) draft. (27)
3. REVISED: "OF" + INFERABLE PARTS
The authors have addressed all reviewer concerns, and the revised manuscript quality has greatly improved. (15)

↓ 44.4%

Comments:
In this example "… compared to the original (previous) draft." is inferable without mistake; thus, avoid using (delete from original draft).


4. ORIGINAL
During that period of time, the membrane area became pink in color and shiny in appearance. (16)
4. REVISED: PREPOSITIONS + INFERABLE
During that period, the membrane became pink and shiny. (9)

↓ 43.8%

5. ORIGINAL
One typical indication of penetrating the membrane to observe is color change. (12)
5. REVISED: "OBSERVATION" INFERABLE
One typical indication of penetrating the membrane is color change. (10)

6. ORIGINAL
Seals generate thrust in a forward direction by moving their forelimbs like wings of birds, which is called powerstroke (Ruhl 1997). During powerstroke, the thrust needed for swim is produced mainly by forelimbs, not by hindlimbs (Ruhl 1997). (38)
6. REVISED: NEEDLESSLY REDUNDANT
Seals generate thrust—called powerstroke (Ruhl 1997)—in a forward direction not by moving their hindlimbs, but by moving their forelimbs as birds move their wings. (26)

↓ 31.6%

4. Replace a clause with a phrase whenever possible

7. ORIGINAL
One typical indication of penetrating the membrane that you can observe is color change. (14)
7. REVISED
One typical indication of penetrating the membrane to observe is color change. (12)

(see Original 5)

8. ORIGINAL
Some common symptoms that you can look for are nausea, tiredness, and sore throat. (14)
8. REVISED
Some common symptoms to look for are nausea, tiredness, and sore throat. (12)

5. Replace a phrase with a word whenever possible

9. ORIGINAL 9. REVISED
What must be done before doing anything else is ensuring that the non-medical toxins are stored properly. (17) What must be done first is ensuring that the non-medical toxins are stored properly. (14)
arrow
What must be done first is ensuring that the non-medical toxins are stored properly. (17) First, ensure that non-medical toxins are stored properly. (8)

↓ 52.9%
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