Cutting Out 500 Words

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The paper is complete. You spent hours researching it and you know that you’ve written a masterpiece.  There’s just one major issue. It’s ½ page too long. Somehow you’ve got to eliminate 500 words without damaging the content of your paper, and you’ve got no idea where to start.

Extraneous Words

Print out a copy of your paper, grab a red pen, and knock out every unnecessary word in your writing. For instance, toss out the word ‘that’ almost every time you see it. You can say that she went to the mall, or you can say she went to the mall. It’s only one word but it can really eat up space in your paper if you use it a lot.

Use Active over Passive Voice

If you don’t know what active and passive voice are check out this guide here. Write every sentence as directly as possible. Don’t mince your words; just say what needs to be said as clearly and with as few words as you can. For example don’t say the trash will be removed by the janitors when you can say Janitors will remove the trash.

Avoid Repetition

When you’re writing a 15-page paper you often need to repeat yourself, but in this case short, sweet, and to the point is definitely better. So read through your paper to see if you can eliminate any repetitious content.

Fewer Examples

Do you really need 5 examples on the same topic? Just don’t delete anything that might weaken your argument.


Long quotes aren’t the best thing for your paper anyway. So instead of quoting put the information into your own words, and cut down on the amount of space the information takes up in your paper. Just don’t forget your in-text citation.

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