There seem to be many good adjectives to descibe a sentence which effectively gets the point across without wasting words: "concise", "succinct", "terse", "pithy".

But what is a good verb to make the following sentence more concise:

Please make this sentence more concise.

  • cut the sentence short..
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:16
  • In a lighthearted context I'd love to use succinctify. It's great to say aloud :) But sadly isn't a real word. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 10:39
  • Shorten. That being said, no matter how short a verb you use, the sentence will still be asking for being made shorter still. So ideally, you should scrap it altogether.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 19:39
  • I think the duplicate path should be reversed. Despite being asked later, this question has higher quality answers, more clear phrasing, 17x more views, and is more highly rated than the marked duplicate.
    – Stevoisiak
    Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 16:09
  • 1
    I disagree with two of the comments above — concise does not have the same meaning as short. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 13:47

5 Answers 5


You can use "condense"

You could also use "summarise" if it suits your context.

  • 2
    unlike concise,succinct,terse and pithy, condense does not denote accuracy. So I believe condense can not be used as a replacement for the above mentioned verbs.
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:28
  • IIRC, "condense" is a term that was used in news publication/editing circles. Can't get more accurate than that.
    – moonstar
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:30
  • 1
    Can you you share links of those publications? And what was the context in which "condense" was used? "Concise information" denotes both accuracy and briefness of given information but if you condense a piece of information, you just make it short and concentrated. The outcome may or may not be accurate.
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:49
  • @SandeepD "The outcome may or may not be accurate." Don't know where you got that notion. It's wrong/
    – moonstar
    Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 3:28
  • 2
    Not sure where @SandeepD got it from, but when I look condense up in a dictionary, it says 'to compress into fewer words; abridge'—nothing about preserving accuracy or detail. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 13:50

If someone was asked to just shorten a sentence, it would likely to be done to still preserve the most vital content. One could also streamline it, edit it down, trim it, or concentrate it.

  • 1
    'it would likely to be done to still preserve the most vital content'—I really wish that matched my experience! I'm upvoting this for streamline, though. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 13:52

Please precis this sentence (not included in the list of options given in the suggestion included in the comments above).


You could use distill - see 5 here.

  • Why would someone down-vote it? The sentence makes perfect sense.
    – Sandeep D
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:14
  • Agreed - if you're going to down-vote, at least indicate why. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:17
  • Seems to be an uncommenting lazy *ç%&/ of a downvoter making the rounds today
    – mplungjan
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 9:49
  • Precis is not the same thing. To make something more concise means to present the same information but using fewer words. A precis is a high-level summary containing much less information. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 15:45
  • @DavidRicherby In the context, which related to a single sentence, I think this achieves the intended effect. I've added 'distill' as a suggestion, though, which is more precise. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 15:48

The verb focus is often used, often in imperative sentences, to get a speaker or writer

to concentrate attention or effort

This is especially found where the narrative has drifted into verbosity or inconsequentials.

  • 1
    I've never heard anyone say "focus this sentence". The natural way, "make this sentence more focused", is exactly the same length as "make this sentence more concise". Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 15:46
  • @DavidRicherby The term appears most often in response to a wandering tale in which the listener says Focus!
    – bib
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    I agree. So it's hard to use it to rewrite "Please make this sentence more concise" in a way that's more concise. Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 16:35

Make this sentence more proverbial.

A proverb is pith perthonified (I mean personified).

Moreover, a sentence which is crafted to be more proverbial just might be more memorable, which is one of the marks of both a proverb and a strong sentence.

An example of "before and after":

"Due to the fact that I saw it with my own eyes, I can bear witness to the fact that it really did happen because I saw it happen."


"Because I saw it happen, I know it happened."

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