The Dictionary of Concise Writing — Second Edition by Robert Hartwell Fiske


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The Dictionary of Concise Writing is a book to be read from cover to cover by every wordsmith in any discipline or profession if for no other reason than to gain the realization of just how "shoddy" much of our writing is. — Nancy Berger

This is brilliant! This is exactly what I have been looking for. As a translator, I often have to convert wordy dreck into readable English — it is too easy to be influenced by the wordiness of the original, and pass it through the filter of translation. For quite some time, I have been collecting as many books as I could find to help me edit and revise, but this is undoubtedly the best. — Kirk McElhearn

I keep three books on my desk next to my monitor: a dictionary, the AP Stylebook, and Robert Fiske's The Dictionary of Concise Writing. I use it frequently. — Gary B. Larson, Garbl's Writing Resources Bookshelf

The Dictionary of Concise Writing is a great book. — Professor Charles Lave, University of California

Your book The Dictionary of Concise Writing is worth its weight in gold. ... Your book has been invaluable to me in ridding sentences of useless words. — William G. Penner, Russian-to-English translator

I am forcing my associate to read Concise Writing because lawyers are schooled in its antithesis and I am learning a great deal myself despite having had the illusion that I was a competent butcher who wielded a terrible swift sword of fat-trimming from the legal garbage I face daily. — Bill Martin, lawyer

This is a reference book that every writer should own. Robert Fiske's approach to his subject is often amusing, but always with an eye for practical solutions. "I do wish, as any writer would, that this were a work of creation instead of compilation," Fiske writes. "Still, whether you refer to or read through the book, it will help you write and speak more clearly."

The Dictionary of Concise Writing — Second Edition consists of two parts. In the first part (Chapter 1: The Perfectibility of Words; Chapter 2: The Imperfectibility of People), Fiske suggests how to identify and correct wordiness. The second part of the book is a compilation of several thousand wordy phrases followed by concise alternative expressions and real-world examples.

Here are a few entries from The Dictionary of Concise Writing — Second Edition:

(a; the) -ance (-ence) of -ing. • With such asset and liability opportunities, the avoidance of large credit losses was a practical management consideration in ensuring attractive profitability. With such asset and liability opportunities, avoiding large credit losses was a practical management consideration in ensuring attractive profitability. • In the performance of their routines, they are acting as extensions of your position. In performing their routines, they are acting as extensions of your position. • A recent variation on providing version protection has been liquidation of the product on site by issuance of a credit to the retailer. A recent variation on providing version protection has been liquidation of the product on site by issuing a credit to the retailer.

a (the) result of the fact that because. • This is a result of the fact that aluminum and copper plates of different thicknesses were used in this particular study with materials on hand. This is because aluminum and copper plates of different thicknesses were used in this particular study with materials on hand. • The risk that bird flu will spread is also much reduced as a result of the fact that poultry production in Finland chiefly takes place under cover. The risk that bird flu will spread is also much reduced because poultry production in Finland chiefly takes place under cover.

(an; the) important ... for (in; of; to) important for (to). • Because decision making is an important element of a manager's job, we need to discover anything that can improve the quality of decision making. Because decision making is important to a manager's job, we need to discover anything that can improve the quality of decision making. • Their willingness to commit capital was an important factor for success. Their willingness to commit capital was important for success. • Certainly, overall physical health is an important component in any society. Certainly, overall physical health is important to any society.

(in) (a; the) ... situation delete. • We are in a crisis situation. We are in a crisis. • If he doesn't do something, it could be an embarrassing situation for him. • If he doesn't do something, it could be embarrassing for him. • Fortunately for almost all involved in restaurant and kitchen work, these shows do not portray what happens in a normal situation. Fortunately for almost all involved in restaurant and kitchen work, these shows do not portray what normally happens. • Authorities in Greenbrier County defused a potentially tragic situation last Monday evening. Authorities in Greenbrier County defused a potential tragedy last Monday evening.

where ... is concerned about; as for; as to; concerning; for; in; of; on; over; regarding; respecting; to; toward; with; delete. • Bank customers are often less venturesome where their money is concerned. Bank customers are often less venturesome with their money. • Keep in mind that bigger isn't necessarily better where information is concerned. Regarding information, keep in mind that bigger isn't necessarily better. • It's beginning to show signs of weakness where demand is concerned, but that's true everywhere. It's beginning to show signs of weakness in demand, but that's true everywhere. • Most investigators use one of three primary methods where sketching is concerned. Most investigators use one of three primary methods of sketching.

  You can order The Dictionary of Concise Writing — Second Edition from Vocabula or the publisher or Amazon.


Other Books by Robert Hartwell Fiske
The Dictionary of Disagreeable English
The Dictionary of Concise Writing
The Dimwit's Dictionary
The Best Words
Vocabula Bound 1
Vocabula Bound 2
101 Wordy Phrases
101 Foolish Phrases
101 Elegant Paragraphs
Silence, Language, & Society
Speaking of Silence


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