8 Best Ideas on How to Shorten an Essay Without Ruining It

How do I shorten my essay? This is one common search query on the internet for good reason. The stress associated with how to make an essay shorter can be more intense when a deadline is around the corner. Indeed, it is difficult trying to figure out how to shorten an essay, especially when you have invested most of your time in creating a masterpiece.

This is often tied to the fact that you have to delete parts of your arguments. However, this is also an opportunity to present your best arguments. When you minimize redundancy in your essay, there is a chance that your essay will be of more relevance to the readers and educators.

What is an essay?

Essays are written expressions that inform your readers about your perspective on a subject matter. Your goal may be to persuade your readers or inform them about the details in respect of a topic of interest. There is also the entertainment and explanation part of the spectrum in essay writing.

Tips on how to shorten an essay without ruining it

You would often hear people say, ‘I need to make my essay shorter,’ but only a few understand how to cut down an essay. It is an art that requires a certain level of experience or guidance. This article provides you with tips on how to shorten a paper without weakening your argument. If this resonates with you, then here are a few ideas below:

1. Prioritize your arguments

When writing an essay, it is recommended that you highlight which arguments strengthen your core message and prioritize such arguments. You can delete any argument that does not strengthen your essay. Also, you must ensure that every sentence in your essay concisely addresses your arguments. Irrelevant sentences should be deleted from the essay. If for any reason you consider every argument important, then you may consider listing them as against writing in detail.

2. Delete repetitions

People tend to repeat phrases and words that have similar meanings when writing an essay. This affects your readers’ ability to understand your essay. It is important to determine what is relevant to the topic and stick to it. Remember that there are numerous ways to communicate your thoughts without repeating words or adding irrelevant details.

3. Eliminate verbosity

Often, people use phrases when a word suffices in an essay. If you are interested in how to shorten essays, then you should avoid such situations. You should not use more words than are needed to communicate your thoughts. For instance, do not put ‘return’ and ‘back’ together in the same sentence. It is better to say, ‘Eric returned from New York’ than ‘Eric returned back from New York.’ The latter is verbose and can increase your word count.

4. Write in an active voice

The active voice helps you maintain the word count, especially when you need to place the spotlight on the subject. It makes your essay concise and straightforward.

5. Combine sentences

If there are sentences that have the same meaning, you may consider merging them to reduce the length. When you merge similar sentences, the core message is hardly lost.

6. Minimize the use of adjectives and adverbs

When your writing is good, you do not need to modify the nouns/verbs with adjectives or adverbs, respectively. The use of adverbs and adjectives may weaken your writing when applied indiscriminately. You must learn to guide the readers into the experience instead of telling them about it.

7. Revise your transitions

Transitions help the reader understand your essay as it maintains the flow between sentences and paragraphs. They include words such as ‘Notwithstanding,’ ‘but,’ ‘because,’ among others. However, when transitions are overused, they become distractions. You would not want to populate your writing with fillers that confuse your readers.

8. Use fewer articles and prepositions

Prepositions and articles are crucial elements of essay writing, but you have to ensure that your readers are not confused when they read your essay. Let your essay have fewer articles and prepositions. On a related note, when you write using the active voice, there are fewer chances of having prepositional phrases in your essay.


Some individuals love writing essays while others struggle with giving words to their thoughts. However, one thing that both categories have in common is the frustration that comes with shorten essays. Hopefully, the tips above will help you meet your next word limit without frustration.

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