Shortening Words: Tips for Effective & Improved Writing.

Shortening words is the process of cutting the beginning or…

Shortening words is the process of cutting the beginning or end of a word from a longer word. It involves creating new words by omitting part of the original word but retaining the original meaning. Words are shortened for several reasons, including to save time or space.

Shortening Words: What it Entails

A shortened word is an abridged version of the complete word. Shortening words in a piece of work can be a great way to make it concise.

Shortened forms of words can be valuable, especially when you need to take notes down quickly.

Shortening often has a negative connotation. While it is okay to use shortened forms of words in informal writings, it is best to avoid them in professional and academic writings. Shortened words in professional contents can quickly become a crutch that creates a lack of clarity and understanding.

To shorten words, you need to be familiar with the roots of the words you are shortening. Understanding the meaning of root words will allow you to know where to begin. Make sure you check your spelling and grammar since it may be harder to read and understand shortened words if they aren’t obvious.

If the meaning of a word is not immediately apparent, you may want to look up the root word in a dictionary. It will make you understand what words you can use as the abridged version.

Commonly Shortened Words in English

Days of the week and months of the year: Mon., Tues., Wed., Jan., Feb.,

Unit of measurements: “cm” for centimer, “mm” for millimeter, “in” for inch.

Titles: “Prof” for Professor, “Mr.” for mister, “Mrs.” for mistress.

How to Shorten Words

Shortening words might be a contentious issue, but can also be valuable. Sometimes, going for a shortened version of a word is less complicated than systematically and impassionately going for the complete form.

Many people shorten words to save time and make it easier for the reader to understand and remember what they read. The four most common ways of shortening words are:

1. Cutting the beginning of the word

  • Telephone – Phone
  • University – Versity
  • Raccoon – Coon
  • Gator – Alligator
  • Parachute – Chute
  • Turnpike – Pike

2. Cutting the end of the word

  • Rehabilitation – Rehab
  • University – Uni
  • Professor – Prof
  • Application – App
  • Introduction – Intro
  • Laboratory – Lab
  • Continued – Cont

3. Cutting the beginning and the end.

  • Influenza – Flu
  • Pyjamas – Jams
  • Apollinaris – Polly
  • Detective – Tec

4. Changing the spelling of the word.

  • Vegetable/vegetarian – Veggie
  • Christmas – Xmas
  • Bicycle – Bike

How to Punctuate Shortened Words

While adding a period at the end of some shortened words is necessary, some are better left that way.

For example, the shortened version of continued is written as cont., while the shortened version of bicycle is written as bike, with no punctuation. Knowing the right scenarios to punctuate will do a lot of good in your writing.

For some writers, punctuating shortened words is an intent of style. They prefer the modern approach, which uses no full stop.

Others, however, prefer a more traditional approach that uses a full stop to indicate that the word is incomplete. These styles work in different scenarios, and it is essential to learn how.

person writing on brown wooden table near white ceramic mug
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash


A great way to make your writing concise is to shorten words. Shortening has a significant impact on the length of your word. With the help of punctuating short words, they are still understandable while retaining the meaning of what you’re saying.

In addition to learning how to shorten words, you need to know how to punctuate them correctly. Punctuating short words is often challenging as there are varying rules for what happens. However, the period helps readers understand that a word has been shortened.

Frequently asked questions

How do you write without shorter?

  • A big chunk of text can be broken into smaller chunks.
  • Make long sentences short.
  • Let some content flow off stage.
  • A labeled paragraph does not suffice rather than an unlabeled one.
  • Sort your long lists into logical chunks.

How do you abbreviate words in an essay?

If you mention a phrase that can be abbreviated, spell it out in full and provide it in parentheses. Afterward, use only the abbreviation. Abbreviate phrase(s) that occur three or more times in your paper. Avoid abbreviations in titles, headings, abstracts, and references.

How do you write an effective sentence?

  • Keep it simple. Long sentences or overly complex sentences don’t necessarily make complex sentence writing sophisticated.
  • Use concrete rhetoric
  • Employ parallelism
  • Mind your grammar
  • Properly punctuate
  • Practice writing

What is shortening a sentence called?

Truncate. 1. Cut off the top or the end (something).

How do you reduce word count in creative writing?

  • Cut unnecessary adverbs. These are usually the most common words.
  • Cut most adjectives. Sometimes, we describe something simply for its sake.
  • Strengthen descriptions
  • Use contractions
  • Remove conjunctions
  • Cut unnecessary words

How do you shorten words?

An abbreviation is a shortening of a word or phrase. An acronym is an abbreviation for a word. The acronym initialism is an acronym that uses the first letter of each word in the phrase (which is why some initialisms are acronyms, but not all).

Why do we use shortened words?

What makes us use acronyms and abbreviations so often is because it takes less time to say or write the first initial of each word or an abbrevialed form of the full word than to type out every single word. Therefore, using acronyms and abbreviations in your day-to-day speech makes communication faster and easier.

How do you shorten a paragraph?

Using the following methods, shorten your paragraphs: Cut sentences, phrases, and words. Put bullets on top of it. A bulleted or numbered list can be used to break out three or more items from a paragraph. Bullets not only break up paragraphs, but also cut words by eliminating transitions.

How do I reduce word count without reducing content?

  • Look for redundancies
  • Remove the title from the list.
  • Remove all words that aren’t pulling their weight.
  • Look for prepositions
  • Stay vigilant for multi-word phrases.
  • Keep in mind what and there are subjects.

How do you cut long sentences?

  • Use readability statistics. You can activate it on your computer and it’ll do the counting for you.
  • Count the commas
  • Cut unnecessary conjunctions
  • Each paragraph contains one thought.
  • Remove redundant words
  • You need to reduce your word count.

Why do we shorten words?

Forms that need to be shortened are better suited to helping the user understand faster. Everyone should understand them.

How can I shorten a sentence?

  • Lose fluff words
  • Voices that are active.
  • Think about what you’re trying to say.
  • Don’t forget your word count.
  • Two-word sentences are best.
  • Start small
  • Organize long sentences into two or more lines.
  • Remove redundant words

How do I condense my writing?

  • Eliminate redundant pairs
  • Delete unnecessary qualifiers
  • Reduce prepositional phrases and identify them.
  • Find and delete unnecessary modifiers.
  • Words should replace phrases.
  • Identify negatives and change them into positives.
  • Make an argument about it.
  • Organize your audience

How do you make a sentence sound more professional?

  • 1 Use active voice. Be concise and to the point when it comes to sounding professional.
  • Orientation to formal language.
  • Revised spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
  • Eliminating unnecessary words and awkward phrasing.
  • 6 Make sure content strikes the intended tone.

How do you cut 1000 words in an essay?

  • Start by taking a look at the big picture. You should first look for whole sections, then paragraphs, sentences, and words.
  • Observe long examples
  • Summarize, summarize, summarize
  • Cut out repetition
  • Chop ancillary topics
  • Not using words (e.g. that or very).
  • You should look for colloquial speech.
Shortening Words: Tips for Effective & Improved Writing.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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