Yes, it’s back to concision again – The Value of Concision (2 of 30)

By | August 27, 2018

antelope-canyon-1128815_1920.jpg

The Value of Concision (2 of 30)

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 …

  • move on,
  • say more,
  • and achieve more of the task.

Let us look at the first of two examples.

Example One: Sentence Level

The first one is a sentence.

There are more than seven billion people living on earth, which is the only planet humans can live on or stay for long periods suitably without the aid of technology, up to the present day.  [34 words]

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

There are more than seven billion people living on earth, which is the only suitable planet. [16 words]

There! Concise and clear. I managed to take 18 words off. The new sentence is less than half of the first. And now, those 18 words could be used to write something more, such as …

Yet it is cracking under the strain, and global warming, in particular, is an implacable and ever-increasing threat. [18 words]

Okay, putting those two blue sentences together, gives us….

There are more than seven billion people living on earth, which is the only suitable planet. Yet it is cracking under the strain, and global warming, in particular, is an implacable and ever-increasing threat. [34 words]

This is lovely writing – as lovely as the picture at the top of this post. It is just as smooth and elegant, with great collocation (‘cracking under the strain’, ‘implacable threat’), which suggests at least

Lexical Resource 7    = some awareness of style and collocation

[from the public version of the IELTS Band Descriptors]

… and the sentence moves onwards nicely, which suggests at least:

Coherence & Cohesion 7 = there is clear progression throughout

[from the public version of the IELTS Band Descriptors]

… and I am explaining and developing my point, which suggests at least …

Task Response 7 = presents, extends, and supports main ideas.

[from the public version of the IELTS Band Descriptors]

That was IELTS 7, and I’m talking ‘at least’! [= it is actually more, IELTS 9, although it does depend on whether it is relevant to the essay topic, and connected with the surrounding text].

In the next post, I will give one more example as an introduction to concision – but this example will be a whole paragraph. In that post, I will also begin the first of the practice exercises.

By the way, you can learn more about me at   www.aisielts.com

Author: Andrew

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