Words, Words, Words

By Austin B. Hahn

Writing for scholarship essays can be frustrating, especially when superfluous words are a requirement. I was applying for a scholarship that wanted 800-1000 words, and then it hit me: why do I need to write hundreds of words to get my point across? I know what I want to say on the topic, but I don’t have 800-1000 words. Whenever I write an essay or a post on Tumblr, I just write. Unless I’m being instructed to do so otherwise for a school assignment, I don’t determine how long a paper will be. Length is irrelevant.

How come people mistake quantity for quality? Sometimes I can say more with less. Other times I will have more to say. Regardless of length, it’s the content of the information in the message that matters. I don’t write to take up space on paper. I write because I have something to say.

Education should teach people to articulate and organize their messages instead of requiring them to write five, ten, or twenty-page essays. Considering the rapid speed of global communication networks, how many people still read hundreds of pages in a day? I don’t know anyone my age that does.

I’m not advocating that we dumb down education or that what’s short and to the point is “better”; I’m advocating that we abolish the notion that more words equates with a stronger argument or a valid point.

Every so often I will read an online article that consists of several pages, and when I finish it, I don’t see anything written in the comments section. People don’t want to get caught up in pages of verbosity trying to figure out a message that could have been written in a few paragraphs. They want to know the information. Give them the details instead of flaunting your vocabulary to show how much you love the dictionary. Besides, no one wants to read sesquipedalian loquaciousness.

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