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Concision I - Keep It Short


Our final topic in rhetorical construction is concision. That is, saying things in few words. And the theme of this video is simply make it short. So what do we mean by this? First of all, the modern business world moves quickly. If you wanna catch people's attention, you have to be clear, persuasive, and concise.

Because of this the GMAT sentence correction values concision. They say, they value saying something in as few words as possible. So the guideline is if two answer choices are grammatically correct, choose the one that uses fewer words. All of the things being equal, fewer words is always better. So a couple tips first of all.

In the, in, in earlier video in this module verbs and active Language. I pointed out that using the verb form of a word rather than the adjective or noun form, makes the language more direct and powerful. So for example if you use the verb suggest rather than suggestive or suggestion, using suggest, the verb, makes everything more direct and powerful. It also makes the writing more concise.

When you have a choice between verb, adjective, and noun, of the same root word, chances are very good that the correct answer uses the verb form. So, always keep your eyes out, for this kind of split. We also had a video in this module on redundancy. Redundancy is a logical problem. But of course redundancy also makes the sentence unnecessarily longer.

So if we remove redundancy not only have we logically improved the sentence, but we've also made it shorter which is better. And then one small point back in the DICTION module in the lesson if versus whether, I pointed out that the construction whether or not. Is too wordy. We don't need the or not.

So that's just an isolated tip. In general, I'd say, be suspicious of long, wordy, indirect ways of things, saying things. And, this is something that will come with more practice. As you read things, you'll start to develop a sense of, wow, that's a wordy way to say it.

So, for example, this sentence, it's not a very long sentence. But, this is a very wordy, indirect sentence. Napoleon had a goal of conquering all of the countries in Europe. That is an extremely wordy sentence, and that exact same idea can be said much more easily just by saying Napoleon's goal was the conquest of Europe, or, even better, Napoleon wanted to conquer Europe.

So, much more efficient ways to say that same thing. Here's a ridiculously long bloated sentence. I'm gonna say pause the video, read this and see if you can figure out some ways to shorten it. Then we'll talk about it. Okay.

The people who vote in Japan. So right away we could just say Japanese voters, that's, that's a very long way to say that. The people who vote in Japan do not have the ability, have the ability that's an indirect thing, have the ability to elect the Prime Minister by a direct vote. By a direct vote, that's kind of wordy.

We just, could just say directly. Instead these people, we can actually just use the pronoun they. These people are able to vote for people who serve in the National Diet, and these members of the Diet choos the Prime Minister. All right, very wordy. So we could simplify this tremendously by saying Japanese voters do not elect the Prime Minister directly.

Instead, they vote for members of the National Diet, who select, the Prime Minister. That is 100% grammatically correct. It conveys the same meaning and it is much much shorter. That is a much better sentence. Here's another example.

Again, this is an unrealistically bloated sentence. But, pause the video, read this, and see if you can figure out some of the problems here. Okay, let's talk about this. The kestrel, a falcon of relatively small size.

Right away, small size, that's redundant. If we're calling it small, small obviously has to do with size. So, found in the, found only in the New World, is a predator, and it preys on rodents. All right, that's redundant also. If it's a predator of course it preys on something.

But in situations in which such predation, an odd noun form, such predation would consume too much energy on its part, the kestrel moves on toward less energetically demanding hunting circumstances. Wow, that is an intensely wordy way to say that. We could make that much more efficient by saying the kestrel, a small New World falcon, preys on rodents, but it seeks situation in which it can hunt with a minimum of effort.

That says exactly the same thing, exactly the same meaning and it is much, much shorter. So obviously, last sentence and this sentence, the two red sentences. These were far more bloated than you would see on the sentence correction. Here is a sentence that's a little more realistic to what you might see on a sentence correction question.

This is actually not too bad, but we could shorten it. So read this and see if you can figure out the problem. Okay, we'll talk about this. While sales have dropped in the second quarter, the marketing department has expectations for sales being higher in the second half of the year.

So for example, first of all the for sales being. Any time we have for, and then something being, that should make us suspicious. And also, has expectations. That's a noun form there. We could change that noun to a verb. We could simply say well the, while sales have dropped in the second quarter of the year, the marketing department expects sales to be higher in the second half of the year.

Well, that's perfectly correct. That's grammatically correct. It communicates the same meaning. It's much shorter, more powerful and more direct. So that's an example of what would be correct on the sentence correction. So, first of all, in summary, concision is good.

Saying something in fewer words is definitely better on the GMAT. Remember to choose verb forms over adjectives or nouns. The verb forms not only are more direct and more powerful but they also allow you to say things in fewer words. And be suspicious of particularly wordy phrases.

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