Published 15 Jul 2022

How to Shorten Your Essay 

Learn practical techniques to condense and refine your essay, making it more concise without sacrificing its core message.
4 min read

a guy is sitting in front of a computer screen

We have already written about the importance of word count and how to make your essay longer without adding unnecessary and irrelevant information. Your professor can clearly see when you add something just to hit that word count. But they also see when you make your essay shorter by cutting out important pieces of information. So, this blog post will tell you how to shorten your essay without making it look cropped.

Why Shorten Your Essay?

Some assignments are meant to teach you how to express your thoughts, opinion, or gather information in a concise way. If you might think that writing a long essay is pretty hard, then you would be surprised to learn that writing a short essay while also covering a topic in a full is also challenging.

Each and every assignment has requirements and if your essay is expected to be of a particular word count, you should prepare yourself to follow these instructions. It might seem like a joke, but your grade can also be lowered if your essay is too long, just like in the case when it is too short. 

So how can you shorten your essay without ruining it and deleting chunks of text that you were working on for so long? Here are a few great tips for you.

Rewrite Long Sentences

Sometimes there is another way to phrase your thoughts and make sentences shorter. For example, the usage of active voice instead of passive can significantly help you with that. Passive voice is often used in academic writing because it makes your text sound more professional and unbiased. However, it takes more words to put the sentence together and it makes writing more complex.

In the case when you need to eliminate all the redundancies, proofreading and editing your essay in order to make sentences shorter and simpler is a method that is the most effective. Work with unnecessary words within longer sentences that don’t add any value.

You should look for typical transition words and padding phrases. For example, words like “really,” “very,” “in order to,” “just,” and “needless to say” can be deleted completely. Some longer phrases can be replaced with shorter ones. For example, “due to the fact the” – “because,” “for the purpose of” – “to,” “in spite of the fact the” – “although,” “despite.” 

Check Your Arguments

When writing essays, you have to address an argument or a few of them to support your claims. Each argument has its relevance rate when talking about a particular topic. So, whenever you need to shorten your essay and delete a large portion of text, make sure you leave the strongest and the most important arguments and evidence, deleting or sizing down the ones that are rather secondary and minor.

Delete Unnecessary Quotes

Quotes can add more value and objectiveness to your essay but they also take a lot of word count. You can freely use them whenever you need to write a longer essay or when your assignment is to work with a particular quote.

However, when you need to shorten your essay, quotes are the first things you need to revise and delete in case you feel like they don’t really add much to your essay. Using external sources is almost always a must, but using direct block quotes isn’t. When you are mentioning other authors’ opinions, you can always cite their works. Citing helps you build your arguments and support your claims with relevant evidence without adding them to the final word count of your essay.

Make Sure You Don’t Digress From a Topic

Making your essay easy to read and follow doesn’t always mean it helps them be concise. We like to add transition sentences and fancy words because it helps us make the essay more of a piece of art. Art of academic writing. However, when your task is to shorten your essay, you need to do what you need to do.

Make sure you don’t digress from the topic and main argument of your essay even in the slightest way. The description of some unrelative but fascinating examples and cases can surely show how much you are acknowledged with the topic, but will only make it hard for you to tailor your paper to match the proper word count. Make sure you stay on a line and use clear, short sentences that support your thesis statement.

Wrapping Up

These were the most useful tips on how to shorten your essay without damaging your work. We hope that you will be able to ace that essay assignment even such a challenging one as writing a short and “straight-to-the-point” essay. And if you don’t, you can always send us your request and our team will be happy to help you out no matter what the word count of your essay should be.


Karen Palmer Karen Palmer
I am an only child (and not spoiled, really) who spent twelve years in Catholic schools and seven more off-and-on years in college, but my education largely took place at the Cahuenga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. Decades later, not much has changed. I again live in L.A. and I still spend a lot of time at the library — if I had to choose between reading and eating, I’d be dead in a week.
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