How to Avoid Fluff in an Essay (Tips and Strategies)

author By Mary Boies

When writing a blog article, it is recommended you use flowery language to captivate your audience and keep them coming back for more. In contrast, when writing an academic essay, or any other academic paper for that matter, it is recommended you use direct language with no excessive words or phrases.

In this post, we will reveal to you tips you can use to write essays devoid of flowery language and excessive words/information.

Let’s begin.

What is fluff in an essay?

By definition, fluff is anything extra in writing that doesn’t add value to a sentence or a paragraph. In other words, anything unnecessary. When writing essays and other assignments, most students try to write just about anything that comes to mind that is relevant to what they are talking about. They do this to try and get to the minimum word count fast. While there is no harm in doing this, sometimes the information added by students includes excessive or redundant words and phrases.

Professors don’t like reading essays or any other type of assignment with unnecessary words, phrases, or sentences. They like reading assignments that are brief, direct to the point, and very intentional with every word, every phrase, and every sentence. This is why most of them only give excellent grades to such assignments and only rarely give top grades to essays/assignments full of fluff.

In this post, we will reveal to you the strategies you need to follow to eliminate empty words in your essay. By following the strategies, you should be able to write articles that are engaging, direct to the point, and without any empty words.

Strategies to Avoid Fluff When Writing an Essay or Assignment

You have probably struggled to fulfill the full essay length and instead resorted to dubious means to make the essay longer. Getting to the word count of an assignment can be a daunting task, especially if you run out of words and sometimes ideas. If not careful, you might end up adding fluff to make it interesting, engaging, captivating, and descriptive. Below are some tips you can use to avoid fluff in your written piece.

1. Always Create an Outline

This is the number one thing you need to do to avoid fluff in your essays. Fluff usually results from no planning or poor planning. If you don’t plan your writing, you will just write anything that comes to your mind. This is what usually results in filler sentences and unnecessary words and information.

In contrast, if you plan your writing (you create an outline), your writing is less likely to contain fluff or empty words and sentences. This is because you will know the goal of each paragraph plus exactly what to write in it.

Creating an outline for every essay you write helps you avoid fluff by telling you the focus of each paragraph. It acts like SATNAV for your writing telling you where to go hence reducing the likelihood of filler words and sentences.

2. Go for Short Sentences and Paragraphs

If you want your writing to be engaging from the first paragraph to the last, it is best you keep your sentences and paragraphs short and clear. When you practice keeping your sentences and paragraphs short, you will be forced to focus on the key message you want to pass on to your reader. You won’t have a lot of space for empty words and sentences.

In contrast, if you love writing long sentences and paragraphs, you will not really focus on the message you want to pass the reader. You will always be trying to find words and sentences to fill your paragraphs, and many of these will be unnecessary. They will also make your work more difficult to understand.

Therefore, adopt a short sentences and paragraphs writing style to ensure your writing is engaging, direct, easy to understand, and with no filler words.

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3. Avoid Big Words and Jargon

One of the best ways to remove fluff from your essays is to avoid using big words and jargon. Generally, two types of writers are those who keep things short and precise and those who use jargon. You want to be in the former group.

Writers who keep things short and clear grab the reader's attention and ensure the reader is engaged throughout their writing. On the other hand, writers who use jargon and big terminologies frequently in their works tend to add unnecessary words and sentences.

Thus, to ensure your essay lacks unnecessary words, sentences, jargon, and big words, you should keep everything short and simple.

4. Minimize Using Adjectives

Unless you are writing a personal or reflective essay, you should limit the use of adjectives in your essays. Adjectives are descriptive words – words that describe nouns or noun phrases. They are important in creative writing because they help to paint a picture and keep the reader interested. However, they are not very important in academic writing because accurate and structured information is what is needed to keep the reader interested.

Your professor isn’t interested in your Shakespearean writing. He or she is interested in seeing you properly support your thesis, and you don’t need a lot of adjectives to do this. Therefore, you should restrict the use of adjectives in your essay and only use them when it is absolutely necessary.

5. Minimize The Use of Adverbs

You should strongly minimize the use of adverbs in your essays. Adverbs are words that qualify or modify an adjective, a verb, or similar words, expressing relation with a degree, cause, manner, circumstance, time, or place. Examples of adverbs include annually, extremely, rarely, daily, and slowly.

You should minimize the use of adverbs in your academic writing in the same way you should minimize the use of adjectives. This is because adverbs are unnecessary in academic writing just like adjectives. Adverbs attempt to provide clarity yet all they do is state the obvious. They often muddy sentences rather than make them any clearer.

So you should avoid them to ensure what you are saying remains understandable and direct to the point.

6. Avoid Stating the Obvious

To ensure your writing is very effective and not in the least boring, you should avoid stating anything obvious or common knowledge. Basically, anything that the reader can understand from the context or what you have already said should not be in your writing.

Adding obvious statements and information to your writing will make your reader to feel as if they are wasting time reading parts of your work. This is a way to ensure you don’t get an excellent grade. You want your professor to feel that everything they have read has made a lot of sense to them and there is no way to do this by repeatedly stating the obvious.

7. Focus On Active Voice

When writing an essay or any other writing, one of the ways you can ensure your work is very engaging is active voice. Active voice is writing in which the subject comes first. This type of writing, in contrast to passive voice writing, eliminates the fluff and makes everything direct and to the point.

When you write in the passive voice, you often have to use more words to make your sentence make sense. These words are perceived as filler words by most professors. To cut them off and use fewer words in your sentences and your paragraphs, you ought to use active voice. It will keep everything short and direct.

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  1. Focus On Relevancy

Try not to ramble in your sentences or paragraphs. Doing this almost always results in filler words and sentences that your writing could do without. Make sure every sentence you set out to write is highly relevant and highly intentional. In other words, there is a message every sentence you write is delivering and it is absolutely necessary for that sentence to exist.

After you write a sentence in your essay, try to quickly think if it is relevant to your paragraph. Is it on a topic or just something you thought you could say? If it is on topic, let it be. If it is not on topic, remove it or rephrase it to make sure it is 100% relevant.

  1. Proofread and Edit

After you are done writing your essay, you should proofread and edit it. This is perhaps the ultimate tip to help you eliminate fluff in your essay. All you need to do is to proofread your essay and as you do so you look out for unnecessary or excessive words.

It may feel a bit painful or counterintuitive to eliminate words and phrases from your work but it is exactly what you need to do to cut out filler words from your essay. If you do several rounds of this you will end up with an essay that is well-polished and with little or no fluff.

Feel free to use proofreading software like to proofread your work. Any decent proofreading software will help you to catch filler words. It will also highlight complicated sentences, which typically have many filler words or jargon.

10. Avoid Generalized Statements

Vague generalized statements will make your essay vague and generalized. And there is no faster way to an average grade than writing generalized statements. Any professor that reads an essay that they feel is full of generalized statements, will not give it a top grade. At best such a paper will get an average grade.

To write an essay that impresses your professor and virtually guarantees you a good grade, you must be very specific in what you write. Every sentence you pen down in your academic work should be purposeful and to the point. It should contain useful and unique information that adds to the reader’s understanding of what you are saying.

Vague generalized statements are pretty common in essay introductions and conclusions. Hence you should look at these particular sections of your essay are you are done writing to ensure they do not contain these types of statements.

11. Use Strong Verbs

Strong verbs can help you to chop down the number of words in your essay. This is because they remove the need for you to use a lot of adverbs and adjectives in your work.

For example, instead of saying something like “I really loved the performance”, you can say “I adored the performance”. Both sentences mean the same thing but the second one has fewer words courtesy of the strong verb.

So try to do this throughout your essays to cut down the unnecessary words and make your essay easier to read.

12. Eliminate Clichés

Clichés will make your work basic and ordinary. Therefore, avoid them like plague. Also avoid useless metaphors, idioms, and clichés. These words and similar words are used frequently in conversation hence the reason why many people mindlessly add them to their essays.

While in articles clichés and similar words are generally acceptable, this is not the case in academic writings. They are not liked or acceptable because they are usually not formal, and they are not understood to have the same meaning.

Therefore, try to write your sentences and paragraphs without including clichés. This will help you eliminate excessive words and make your work easier to understand.     

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13. Be Careful About Redundancy

There is nothing much worse than redundancy at both the word level and the sentence level. Redundancy means repetition. You want to make sure you don’t repeat the same info over and over again in your essay. Because doing this will make it sound like you don’t know what you are doing. Of course, you don’t want your professor to think this because what will follow will be a poor grade for you.

So upon finishing your essay assignment, you should read it carefully to try and identify cases of repetition and then eliminate them. Say only what you need to say and do not over-try to explain it over and over again. Your professor is an educated individual; they don’t need repetition or repetitions to understand what you are saying.

14. Eliminate Parentheses and The Words in Them

Parentheses are not recommended in essays. They are not recommended because they simply increase word count without providing very useful information to the reader. In most essays, you will notice the word or words in the parentheses are not essential or crucial. Therefore, you should eliminate them.

When reading your work and deleting parentheses, you may come across parentheses that you feel you cannot delete or ignore. Because you believe they have very important or very relevant information. In such cases, you should still delete the parentheses and add the important information as a new sentence. This will help to ensure whatever you wanted to say is not lost.

15. Reduce Long Sentences

Sometimes long sentences are necessary for academic writing to provide a good understanding of evidence or to discuss various theories and concepts. However, most of the time they are not necessary; they are just simply long sentences full of fluff.

So after you draft your essay, look at it carefully from the first sentence to the last to identify long sentences. Once you do this, identify the ones that are just plain long sentences and rework them into shorter sentences.

16. Read Your Work Loud

The last tip we would like to share with you to help you eliminate fluff in your essay is to read your work out loud. This is great because it will show you exactly what words or sentences are too long or excessive. Once you eliminate these, your work should be easy to read.

You will know what sentences are too long when you run out of breath reading them, or you get bored in the middle of the sentence. And you will know the words that are excessive when you can delete them and the sentence can still make sense.

A final Word on Using Fluff in Essays!

Essays should be written concisely; straight to the point. Adding fluff to an essay can spice it up, making it appealing and captivating to the readers. However, there is a limit to the extent to which you can use it in an essay.

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Avoid being too wordy in your essay by using the strategies we have shared with you in this article. A fluff-free essay is always interesting to read and is more likely to get you an excellent grade vis-à-vis an essay that is full of fluff.

You don’t want to make your professor doubt if your essay is worth a top grade. In most cases, AI-generated essays are full of fluff and are flagged by professors.

You should do the right thing and eliminate all the fluff in your essay before submitting it. Follow the strategies above to help you do this.

If you desire an assignment that is 100% fluff-free, you could use the help of our expert writers. We can work out your papers from scratch or rewrite, reword, and edit what you have written to make it sound academic and professional. All our papers are written to meet the highest standards. Besides, we follow all the academic writing conventions and citation formats to the T, and make sure that the word count is fulfilled. Hire our custom essay writers to create a brilliant essay for you with little or no filler words. Try us today for fast and quality assignment help services.

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