Austin Blessing
5 min readDec 30, 2019


The Importance of Erring for Clarity Over Conciseness

Conciseness is very important in writing, especially in news articles, blog posts, filling out forms, and in other forms of writing where space is limited and words must be conserved. However, conciseness should not come at the cost of clarity. Sure, unnecessary details can be omitted in favor of generality, but unnecessary confusion and ambiguity should not be created.

Sources of the issue

The problem arises from the many different ways we can use the same words to mean different things depending on: the context, the use of modifying words, or the specific industry or community. This means that in writing, the phrase “less is more” often does not apply to word count.

The English language is replete with homonyms, which can lead to confusion. Most often the meaning intended is clear from the context, but other times it is not and therefore words must be added to provide clarity either by modifying or changing the word to make its intended use clear or by supplying additional context.

The 21st century has introduced us to a new technology which can pose clarity issues. This technology is autocorrect. Autocorrect is a valuable writing tool that helps correct errors automatically, but it is not perfect, and we have all seen, and likely been the victim or recipient of, autocorrect failures. An autocorrect failure is when autocorrect incorrectly corrects a word, usually distorting the meaning of the sentence, often drastically. These failures may often be funny to read, but they can also have disastrous and embarrassing outcomes, especially if the recipient doesn’t believe it was a mistake.

Why is clarity important?

A lack of clarity can cause lost profits, lower grades, relationship issues, lower amounts of readers, and many more negative side effects which every type of writer should strive to avoid.

In literature, the most likely result of unclear writing is that readers will simply put down your book, leave your website, or find a new story to read. If writing literature is just a hobby, this may feel humiliating when no one wants to read your work and reviews it poorly, but if you make your livelihood writing literature then the results of lower readership are even more tragic, a loss of income

Texting is a type of writing that is usually extremely concise. This means that there is very little context with which to discern the meaning of your words. This…