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How to Cut Word Count in Essay

Before you start writing an essay, the challenge appears overwhelming. How are you going to write two pages on a topic that you don’t even like? But when they start writing, many students make a serious mistake: they don’t know when to stop.

They get stuck on a particular argument, so they reach the planned word count without saying everything they planned to say. Some don’t even look at the word count. They keep writing, and writing, and writing. When editing time comes, there’s a problem: you’re left with a longer paper than the one your professor requested. In any case, you may use essay writing service to get assist, or do it yourself.

Should You Cut the Word Count?

Yes; absolutely!

How do you perceive submitting a 1200-word essay when your professor set the word count to 800? If you’re like most students, you think that your efforts should be appreciated. You tried and wrote more than the needed minimum, right?

The requested word count is not a minimum. It’s a straightforward requirement that you should respect. If you go beyond it, it means that you failed to plan your arguments. You failed to follow the instructions. That’s serious. We need to fix this issue during the editing process.

How to Reduce the Word Count in an Essay

  1. Clarify Your Arguments

The first step is to make priorities. An essay should contain an introduction, three paragraphs with three main arguments, and a conclusion that brings all the links together. The thesis statement practically contains the three arguments. In most cases, students who write more words than necessary expand the arguments. That’s the first thing to check.

Are there three clean main arguments in three separate paragraphs? If you went overboard, you’ll need to get rid of the excessive argumentation.

  1. Simplify Your Style

When you’re done checking the arguments, you should focus on your style. Highlight the sentences that are too long. Then, shorten them. There are unnecessary elements there:

  • Phrases that you can change with words
  • Auxiliary verbs
  • Prepositions
  • Connectives
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Passive phrases

When you get rid of these elements, you’ll end up with a shorter essay. It will make a better impression with its clean style.

  1. Check the Outline

Before you started writing the paper, you made an outline. You planned the arguments and sources that you were going to include.

During the writing process, you went a bit too inspired. Maybe you included an extra argument or additional references. Consider getting rid of them if they are not essential to the point you want to make.

  1. Make Sure Each Sentence Is Related to the Thesis Statement

Read each sentence separately. Is it connected to the thesis statement? If it’s not, get rid of it. Every element of your paper has a purpose: to prove the thesis statement.

Editing Is Not Butchering; It’s an Aim towards Effectiveness

After writing the paper for so long, you feel sorry to delete parts of it. You feel like every word has its place. You’re wrong! The essay will be better when you reduce the word count. It will be easier to read. Too many words dilute the point you wanted to make. By making the content more focused on the thesis statement, you’re making a bigger impact as an author.


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