Examiners in academic institutions often set a word limit to essays or theses. Students may find difficulty in keeping to this limit in case they omit any essential text. However, examiners have good reason for setting this limit which is to avoid unnecessary repetition, irrelevant text and an ‘over-wordy’ style. The task facing the student is how to decide which text is essential and which is not.
In addition to our academic proofreading and editing services, we offer a text reduction service for academic documents in which our experienced editors can reduce the number of words to the required limit. They do this by, firstly, reading through the document thoroughly in order to understand its meaning and what the author is trying to convey; next, they remove any text which is non-essential to the argument of the document and any repetitive material; finally, they look for ways of saying the same thing in fewer words, such as removing what we call phrasal verbs and replacing them with simple verbs and changing the passive voice for the active. For example, ‘A survey was carried out by the researcher’ can be changed to ‘The researcher conducted a survey’. Our editors also check the document for spelling and grammatical errors and generally make it more concise. The greater the reduction required then the more our editors need to use their own initiative regarding what text they need to remove. It is important that clients are aware of this.
Our reduction service is also available for other types of documents. For example, newspapers and periodicals usually set a word limit for each article they publish. There are many reasons for this which include the limitation of the number of pages in any publication as well as avoiding the risk that their readers will become bored with an article that is too long; consequently, resulting in fewer people buying the said periodical, possibly leading to financial loss for its owners.
Editors of websites are similarly limited to a fixed number of words. This may be due to financial restrictions because extra or unnecessary words may add to the cost, or the format of the website may be in frames where there is a physical constraint on the number of words in a frame.
Publishers of books (fiction and non-fiction) almost always set a word limit for the number of pages. This is partly due to printing costs and partly due to the fact that an overlong book is less likely to be read from cover to cover.
The fact that we live in a digital age means that people’s attention span is much lower than it was in past times. So whether it be an academic document, a web page, a book or a magazine article, if it is too wordy or repetitive, today’s readers will close the book after reading just a few pages or will leave the website immediately.
So to make sure your presentation has greater impact and your readers will stay with you, it is worth using our reduction service.