Concision: the key to IELTS 7 (2 of 8)

By | October 12, 2017


The Value of Concision (2 of 8)

In the previous post, I quoted from my own IELTS Writing Task Two book (Page 33, at the bottom), which states …

This new sentence is much shorter, and makes the same point. That is, the sentence is concise, and concision is a sign of a good writer.

Concision helps give you that ‘clear progression’ (= IELTS 7). Thus, if a sentence can make the same point in fewer words, WRITE THAT SENTENCES!  You then have time to …

  • write more,
  • say more,
  • and achieve more of the task.

Unfortunately, there is much IELTS ‘preparation’ out there teaching you long weird sentences, full of redundancy and fluff. Authors write books of ‘model’ sentences to remember, trying to create ‘style’ and ‘collocation’. The worst of these are indecipherable, but even what seems like an efficient sentence is often overwritten. Let us look at an example.

fewer people being killed.  [4 words]

This doesn’t look too bad, but it could be changed to

fewer deaths. [2 words]

There! Concise and clear. I managed to take 2 words off, but let’s go a bit further. Look at the next sentence written in bold.

The issue is not about whether the government should or should not give the right of owning guns to people, but instead it is more about educating the general public to use these weapons in a proper way which is safe for everyone. [43 words]

This sentence may look good, but look what I can do. Let’s change this to …

The issue is not about gun rights, but gun education. [10 words]

Wow! 10 words compared to 43! My sentence is less than 1/4 of the original (!!!), and the message is exactly the same, which shows that the first sentence was over-written. And think, bad IELTS books are full of those original sentences. Got it? It’s your turn. The next eight posts will all be exercises.

Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed