The GMAT has opinions on what types of phrases are wordier than others. Recognizing these patterns can help me make confident decisions on the test.
But these are NOT absolute rules. In fact, some (not all) published GMAT problems violate these rules. So use these rules for concision LAST – usually there are other issues besides concision to think about; concision won’t be the make-or-break.
You can rank parts of speech by “concision power”, using the following tool: DRIVE THE V-A-N
V-A-N = Verb > Adjective/Adverb > Noun
<<An active Verb is usually stronger and more concise than an Adjective or an action Noun.>>
The preferred form is usually what the author intended to say, so choosing this form helps to "crystallize" the meaning.
Wordy: They are subject to the applicability of rules.
Better: Rules apply to them.
Wordy: His conception of money was a goal.
Better: He conceived of money as a goal.
Wordy: Her decision was to go.
Better: She decided to go.
**Above, notice how nouns create wordy prep phrases.
**Don’t treat these patterns as a hard-and-fast rule. Use this concision rule last. There's probably other issues.
Concision (3/9) – VAN Pattern 2 – Prefer a That-Clause (with Verbs) to a Series of Phrases (with Nouns) (1/2)
Wordy: The hypothesis ABOUT the COMPOSITION OF the universe AS largely dark energy seems strange.
Better: The hypothesis THAT the universe IS largely COMPOSED OF dark energy seems strange.
When tacking on a long thought onto a noun, better to do so with a That-clause than a bunch of prep phrases
(1) When you are dealing with a noun that is lengthy because of a long thought, put the thought in a That-clause instead of a series of many prep phrases
(2) That-clauses start with “that” and contain a “Working Verb” (which is a verb that, as is, can be the main verb of a sentence). E.g. “Is composed”
(2a) That-clauses are the verb-form of the action, which is a special case of Pattern #1.
(3) A series of prepositional phrases is hard for people to grasp. Using verbs helps to make it easier to read.
The belief THAT the Earth is flat is contradicted by EVIDENCE THAT the Earth is round and the DISCOVERY THAT the Earth circles the Sun.
Wordy: This rash is aggravating to the pain.
Better: This rash aggravates the pain.
Wordy: We are able to go to the store now.
Better: We can go to the store now.
Wordy: This signal is indicative of a problem.
Better: This signal indicates a problem.
Wordy: Her example was inspirational to me.
Better: Her example inspired me.
Sign up for free and study better.
Get started today!