College PrepSATSAT Writing

Wordiness and Redundancy in SAT® Writing Questions

Some questions on the SATⓇ Writing test will ask you to make corrections for concision. Wordiness and redundancy errors are common questions on the SAT test, and you should know how to improve them for concision and correctness. The reader should understand the main points without having to sift through excessive phrasing.

For these questions, you will be given an underlined phrase and must decide how to improve it. The most concise answer is typically the correct answer.

Wordiness

When correcting for wordiness, your goal is to improve complex phrases by making them more concise. The point of the sentence or phrase should be clear to the reader, and you can improve the reader’s understanding by editing for concision. This is most often accomplished by editing wordy versions of phrases or replacing gerunds with nouns or pronouns and a verb.

There are a few common phrases that can be edited for concision.

The SAT likes to use “being that” instead of “because”; “in spite of him/her being” instead of “although he/she was.”

Here is an example of wordiness with one of the most common phrases:

Wordy: Being that the hotel is an hour away, they decided to eat before leaving.
Concise: Because the hotel is an hour away, they decided to eat before leaving.

You should also keep an eye out for gerunds.

Gerunds are words that end in “-ing” but do not operate as adjectives. Some gerunds are misused, causing wordiness.

Here is an example of wordiness created by a gerund:

Wordy: Sarah carefully planned her evening to finish baking the cake and cooking dinner in time.
Concise: Sarah carefully planned her evening to bake the cake and cook dinner in time.

Another tip: You can replace a gerund with a noun (or a pronoun) and a verb.

For example:

Wordy: She decided to return home because of it being past nine o’clock.
Concise: She decided to return home because it is past nine o’clock.

We replaced the gerund with a pronoun and a verb to improve this sentence.

Redundancy

Redundancy refers to a repetition or a word or phrase that repeats what has already been implied. These additional references to the same point are unnecessary. You will have to look at an underlined portion of the text and decide if it is necessary for the meaning. If the underlined portion is not required for the meaning, you can edit out one of the phrases, simplifying the text by making it concise.

For example:
Redundant: The team collaborated together to reach a compromise.
Concise: The team collaborated to reach a compromise.

Redundant: At first, the initial results favored the blue team.
Concise: The initial results favored the blue team.

Like the wordiness questions, the most concise answer is typically the correct one.

You can practice improving wordiness and redundancy in the Writing test by using UWorld’s SAT Prep Course. Our practice exams, detailed question explanations, and performance tracking tools can streamline your studies and provide you with experience for test day! Try it out to perfect your skills with concision and boost your Writing scores!