Sometimes Less is More

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MS Editors


As an undergrad, I was a teaching assistant for a writing class designed for computer science majors. While some of the students were very good writers, many hated writing and really struggled with the class. Most of the assignments were short—one paragraph of ten typed lines—and we deducted points if the assignment was too long.

One student in particular complained when he lost points for writing something twice as long as the assignment required. He argued that he had done more than the required amount of work and should be rewarded. What he didn’t understand was that when it comes to writing, longer isn’t always better, and shorter is often harder.

It’s not hard to see where the longer-is-better mindset comes from. Most class assignments have minimum page requirements, not maximum page requirements. But some of the hardest writing you’ll ever do will be making something long shorter. You’ll need…

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