Less Words; More Meaning

Ecclesiastes 6:11:  The more the words, the less the meaning


School, focuses to much on length of an assignment rather than the quality of the assignment.  It seems that they would rather me do 80 less than half done math problems than 20 perfectly done ones. Many students don’t even do the half done 80 problems.  I know of many people who just turn in their old homework over and over.  I know for a fact though that if the homework was cut then students would actually do it.  What’s the point of doing 80 problems where I don’t learn anything? It’s better for me just to do less with more effort. (by the way, 80 half done problems does not equal 40 fully done problems)

This also applies to English (and most other subjects). Many English teachers require a certain amount of pages or words in an essay or an assignment.  Either that, or they tend to give higher grades to a student who has a longer paper.  I feel that this isn’t right.  Why would I spend all of my time making my essays longer to say the same exact thing.  Many students tend to have trouble with making their essays the required length.  They repeat examples/elaboration/analysis,  they talk about things unrelated, they make things overly complex, or the use a passive tone. this leads to a complex paper which you have to read one paragraph to get the same meaning that a sentence can portray.  I remember when we had to do peer editing and I read one of my classmates papers.  She overused higher vocabulary (basically she just used the thesaurus button on Microsoft)and I had no idea what she was saying.  I asked her to explain her essay to me and she was able to do it in six short sentences. I askd her why she made it sound so complex when it was really simple and she replied, “for the grade”

Yes, I do agree that some longer essays are better since they have more examples, elaboration, and analysis.  (Many of my own papers are very long in length) However, there shouldn’t be a minimum of how much you should write.  There are many amazing writers that I know who can insert so much meaning in one sentence.  These people, however, are the ones who tend to struggle on papers with page/word minimums. Just look at great writers like Charles Dickens.  The title of his book “A Tale of Two Cities” has so much meaning even though it is only five words.  Same with the title of his first book, first chapter, and first paragraph.  People are able to write essays about what he means in a few words and a sentence.  Isn’t that the quality of a great writer.

Here’s an example of how people tend to make this longer and more complicated in their essays

She ran in the morning.  vs During the morning, the run was ran by her.

In English, we did an assignment that truly showed us how to use less words to have more meaning.  We had to write an exactly 100 word story that included certain quotes from A Tale of Two Cities.  Here is an example from my friend James.  (check out his blog here)

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, but that’s just love. But now that she’s gone, there’s only time. I look back at the crash and I am thankful I survived. But I guess that’s the thing, to live doesn’t mean you’re alive. I walk through the house, the place I used to call home when she was alive, not even a shell of the man I once was for she had both my body and mind. I reach to touch her, but my hand falls through… So easily it reminds me of her life passed.”

The deepness of this post was achieved in a hundred words. I feel that if he used more than a hundred words then he would not be able to achieve this level.


If you want more examples of saying more with less watch the movie a thousand words



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