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Thread: Help with wordiness on an essay.

  1. #1
    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    Help with wordiness on an essay.

    I haven't written a short piece in a while. When I don't write for long periods of time I tend to get very wordy. I need some help toning this down. I have been out of college for a while now and am writing this purely for fun and to hone my literary skills. Any tips would be much appreciated:

    21st century Hip Hop has, to the detriment of its roots, distanced itself from light-hearted frivolity. It leaves much to be desired by way of substance, and little to be desired by way of promiscuity. From Chris Brown’s hoes not being loyal to T.I. not wanting a mediocre *****, all women are either apple-nibbling Eves or mongrels. Women are defined by their curves and penalized for their wits. Controversy surrounding subliminal misogyny has been supplanted by full blown condescension for females making it highly improbable to discuss the topic of Hip Hop without alluding to the licentious phenomenon. Will Hip Hop continue to saunter along the off-beaten path of demoralization or will there be a resurgence of ponderous lyricism catalyzed by disgust for the lecherous fad?
    Breaths of fresh air have filtered into the stagnating atmosphere from time to time, most notably in Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid m.A.A.d. City and Cunninlynguists’s Oneirology. The freestyle skits at the B.E.T. awards have also showcased unabashed lyricism such as in 2 Chainz’s verse ‘ I put the glock to your eye, leave you with glaucoma’. When artists are confronted with each other during a rap battle their reputation is on the line and they are less prone to pull the rehashed ‘women-are-lessers’ tool out of the lyrical bag. This logically implies that collaborations would be of higher quality as artists vie for lyrical supremacy, yet only folderol has been the outcome. In fact, when in ‘synergy’, artists take misogyny to new climes and intersperse it with choruses that are diminutively repetitive such as in Rich Gang’s ‘Tapout’. Sex has always sold, but its integration with the Hip Hop scene is unprecedented.
    With the advent of broken record playing choruses and lackluster beats comes a millennial generation of female teens grinding against men whose names they don’t know and whose intentions are all but subtle. The word ‘ratchet’ has made its way into the trusty Webster dictionary and dance moves like twerking are considered hip as opposed to visually slanderous.
    My hide hides the heart inside

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    Registered User 108 fountains's Avatar
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    Hi Adolescent09,

    You have an interesting essay, and I would love to discuss it in detail, but lately I am really cramped for time in my job, so let me just make a couple comments/suggestions on your request for help in wordiness. I think your essay is quite well-written, but does suffer from some amount of wordiness. I would suggest as a general rule that nearly all adverbs are unnecessary and should go. If you do need an adverb to describe a verb, you probably just need a better verb; if you need an adverb to describe an adjective, you probably just need a better adjective. Similarly the number of adjectives in a written piece can often be deleted by the use of a better noun.

    I'm not saying all adverbs should go (although most should), and for sure good adjectives in the right place can add to the richness of any written work; what I am suggesting is to go through what you have written, look at the adverbs and adjectives, and ask if they are really necessary or can they be taken out or replaced with a better (more descriptive) noun or verb.

    I've gone through the piece and came up with the following:
    "light-hearted frivolity" -- "frivolity" is a great noun; "light-hearted" in this case is totally redundant
    "highly improbable" -- "impossible" might be better, if that's what you mean
    "licentious phenomenon" -- how about "licentiousness"?
    "off-beaten path of demoralization" -- do you really need "off-beaten" here?
    "ponderous lyricism" -- do you really need "ponderous"?
    "stagnating atmosphere" -- how about "miasma"?
    "choruses that are diminutively repetitive" -- "tedious choruses" or "tired choruses" might be better
    "visually slanderous" -- I think "visually" can be deleted here without losing meaning

    Separately, although I am not a fan of Hip-Hop (one of the reasons for my dislike is its denigration of women - the topic of your essay), I am interested in it as an art form, and have been curious whether Hip-Hop artists see any connection in their art's "roots" to the Beat Poets of the 1950s or to Bob Dylan's lyrics/poetry, which was itself influenced by the Beat Poets. While I see some similarities (both in style and content), I wonder if that is only coincidence or if there is a real connection.
    A just conception of life is too large a thing to grasp during the short interval of passing through it.
    Thomas Hardy

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    Left 4evr Adolescent09's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 108 fountains View Post
    Hi Adolescent09,

    You have an interesting essay, and I would love to discuss it in detail, but lately I am really cramped for time in my job, so let me just make a couple comments/suggestions on your request for help in wordiness. I think your essay is quite well-written, but does suffer from some amount of wordiness. I would suggest as a general rule that nearly all adverbs are unnecessary and should go. If you do need an adverb to describe a verb, you probably just need a better verb; if you need an adverb to describe an adjective, you probably just need a better adjective. Similarly the number of adjectives in a written piece can often be deleted by the use of a better noun.

    I'm not saying all adverbs should go (although most should), and for sure good adjectives in the right place can add to the richness of any written work; what I am suggesting is to go through what you have written, look at the adverbs and adjectives, and ask if they are really necessary or can they be taken out or replaced with a better (more descriptive) noun or verb.

    I've gone through the piece and came up with the following:
    "light-hearted frivolity" -- "frivolity" is a great noun; "light-hearted" in this case is totally redundant
    "highly improbable" -- "impossible" might be better, if that's what you mean
    "licentious phenomenon" -- how about "licentiousness"?
    "off-beaten path of demoralization" -- do you really need "off-beaten" here?
    "ponderous lyricism" -- do you really need "ponderous"?
    "stagnating atmosphere" -- how about "miasma"?
    "choruses that are diminutively repetitive" -- "tedious choruses" or "tired choruses" might be better
    "visually slanderous" -- I think "visually" can be deleted here without losing meaning

    Separately, although I am not a fan of Hip-Hop (one of the reasons for my dislike is its denigration of women - the topic of your essay), I am interested in it as an art form, and have been curious whether Hip-Hop artists see any connection in their art's "roots" to the Beat Poets of the 1950s or to Bob Dylan's lyrics/poetry, which was itself influenced by the Beat Poets. While I see some similarities (both in style and content), I wonder if that is only coincidence or if there is a real connection.
    I have replaced all your changes in my word document and the essay is definitely clearer. Thanks for the great input! My mom (also my greatest mentor) has said that communication is key in writing and that formality or the need to be a 'grammarian' is less important. I am unclear as to who my target audience is in this essay since, frankly, most of the people who listen to Hip Hop don't judge it through a constructive lense but listen to it because the radio regurgitates the fodder. I lack insight on the Beat Poets generation but have heard time and time again that Bob Dylan played an important role (either latently or otherwise) in laying the blueprint for words syncopated with a beat, which evolved into Hip Hop. What I find interesting is that Hip Hop that is not played on the radio a.k.a. the underground rarely makes denigrating references to women but rather tells Country-genre type stories that are salient to our times. This makes me wonder whether the roots for Rap or whatever they play on the radio digressed from the roots of the 'underground' because they substantiated from different platforms. The subculture of Hip Hop is vast and multifaceted. It's influence on our lives especially in the African-American community is ambiguous since the artists are so obscure. Understanding Hip Hop heritage and what fomented its drastic change in the 21st century is a bit of a puzzle. It is interesting that I am a mathematician and English is not my favorite subject but writing about topics ranging from music to politics and the consequences of globalized technology inspires me to write on a whim. Again, I appreciate your feedback 108 Fountains, and I would be more than happy to embellish on the topic of Hip Hop with you or anything that relates to our society.
    My hide hides the heart inside

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    I agree with 108 Fountains (an astute critic!) on the overuse of adjectives. Choose expressive nouns which don't require further modifiers.

    More importantly, strong verbs automatically will improve the power of your writing. Use active rather than passive constructions. Rule of thumb: Which sentence packs more punch: "Mary was shot by John" OR "John shot Mary" ?

    Also, allow me to clarify something in your reply #3 in the hopes you won't think I'm some kind of smart***(donkey.) I've never heard that Bob Dylan lay the groundwork for Hip Hop; what I did hear was it was influenced by a number of things--West Indian culture, Gullah, "call and response" in jazz etc. In any event, I don't believe Bob Dylan had anything to do with the Beat Poets who predated him by a decade or so. We usually think of the Beat poets as Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti; William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac also big names in the Beat Movement, though they wrote in prose. The term "beat" as applied to them referred to tired out, exhausted, dissipated by the political and social atmosphere of the 1950s, following World War II.

    I think you'd like reading Ginsberg and Corso's poems, quite accessible and to my mind emotionally moving.
    Last edited by AuntShecky; 08-13-2014 at 04:36 PM.

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