The admissions committee will read many personal statements, and they want to gain the information in as efficient a manner as possible.
The admissions committee will read many personal statements, and they want to gain the information as efficiently as possible.
You don’t need to write “as efficient a manner,” because we know that “efficient” is a “manner” or “style.” This is like saying “She is trustworthy in character.” Instead, you can write “She is trustworthy,” because readers know that is a comment on her character.
Our company has been achieving acceptable growth rates, but the business environment in which we’re immersed may represent some obstacles. Customers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to service.
Our company has been achieving acceptable growth rates, but customers are increasingly demanding when it comes to service.
In this context, the phrase “the business environment in which we’re immersed may represent some obstacles” is just a more general and therefore less memorable way of saying what comes next: “Customers are becoming increasingly demanding when it comes to service.” Remove generalities and get to the point.
Notice that I also changed “are becoming increasingly demanding” to “are increasingly demanding.” The latter expresses the same meaning using fewer words.
I think the risks of hydraulic fracturing clearly outweigh the benefits.
The risks of hydraulic fracturing clearly outweigh the benefits.
You almost never need to write “I think” or “I believe” in an academic paper. Readers will assume you think or believe something if you’ve taken the time and energy to write it in your paper.
Notice also that the concise sentence above feels bolder and more convincing. Writing students often use phrases like “I think” because they’re trying to point out that they know they could be wrong. In life in general it’s admirable to remember that you could be wrong about something, but your writing should be as clear and convincing as possible. State your idea boldly and confidently. If there are factors that could make your assertion incorrect, then clearly state what they are and how likely they are to influence your claim.
Nowadays, the price of oil is higher than it has ever been before.
The price of oil is higher than it has ever been.
You don’t need to say “nowadays” or “currently” in situations like this. If you simply state your idea without a time mentioned, readers will assume you mean the present. If you meant twenty years ago, then you would say so. You can also leave out the “before” at the end, because it has no effect on the meaning.
You could make the sentence even shorter, as in: “The price of oil is higher than ever.” But I like this sentence less. It sounds slightly informal to me. Writing concisely means eliminating unnecessary words, but that doesn’t mean making every sentence as short as possible. You also have to consider other values, like the tone of the writing.
Professor Li does research on productivity in the workplace.
Professor Li researches workplace productivity.
It’s not bad writing to occasionally use something like “does research on” instead of the more concise “researches,” but the latter is better for regular use. I wouldn’t write “does research on,” however, but rather the more elegant “conducts research on.”
Participants sat in a circular formation during the meeting.
Participants sat in a circle during the meeting.
I can’t think of a situation in which a “circular formation” can’t be equally effectively described simply as a “circle.” If any readers can think of a context in which it’s better to write “circular formation,” please let me know!
When my students cannot detect the problem in this conciseness example, I ask them to draw a circular formation on the board. The answer comes to them when they realise they’ve drawn a circle.