Text Shortening Service


Universities or academic institutions conventionally set a limit to the length of academic manuscripts, be it a thesis, dissertation or essay. This means MA and PhD students must not go over the required length – which can be a challenge because - in the eye of the writer - everything they have written is important.

Academic authors and students tend to write more than needed and very often overshoot the right word count for their papers – which varies depending on the type of academic manuscript, the course being studied, the university itself, among other factors.

In most cases, an essay is expected to be around 3,000 words in length, while a Master's thesis often hovers between 10,000 and 12,000 words.

What to do if you have exceeded the word count in your dissertation or essay?

As part of our package of proofreading services, we offer an academic text shortening service for PhD and Master's students.

As the author, you will most likely think that every word you have written is important and cannot be deleted and find yourself in a conundrum – but you worry not.

Our experienced academic editors will approach your text with a fresh pair of eyes, scrutinising your text very carefully to identify any repetition that can be removed, any wordy language that can be tidied up, or any unnecessary text that can be safely deleted without affecting the overall meaning.

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’ (the amended version was shortened by three words!).

Our editors also check the document for spelling or grammatical errors or over-punctuation and focus on the conciseness of your text.


Our text condensing service is also available for other types of documents, such as academic journal articles, the length of which is often set by the journal or the publisher.

Also, 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. 

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.