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Not enough space for common app essays , so I stick the comma to some words.

Mag AdrianMag Adrian Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
I often find myself having 152/150 or 254/250 etc ... words on my common app essay so I try to cheat by doing from this :
( bla bla ) , this : (bla bla) or from this : bla bla , bla ; this : bla bla, bla . (sticking the comma)
Is this a big problem ? I do not want to reformulate an entire phrase just because of 2/3 words , because , then I would have to change other parts as well and again other parts ... .

Replies to: Not enough space for common app essays , so I stick the comma to some words.

  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 8,255 Senior Member
    Punctuation is supposed to be attached to the words anyway, like this. I would have someone proficient at grammar look over your essay.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,568 Senior Member
    So instead of editing your essay down so it's under the limit, you're willing to make it look as though your grammar skills are lacking?

    It wouldn't be my choice.
  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 8,255 Senior Member
    edited November 14
    I might be mistaken, but it almost sounds like they'd be making it MORE correct by making the changes...because all of their punctuation in their posts and in their "before" examples is floating independently, which is grammatically incorrect. If that's the case -- if the essay is really written like , this ! ... Then that's a real issue.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,568 Senior Member
    I'm sorry if I misread... the way I interpreted it was that instead of saying "mom or dad", the OP is making it into
    "mom,dad" to read as a single word.
  • bodanglesbodangles Registered User Posts: 8,255 Senior Member
    I agree that doing that would also be incorrect. I hope OP can find someone to look over the writing and give tips on how the punctuation should be done. If there's this much confusion over it, it sounds like editing before submission will be very important to make sure the essay is putting its best foot forward.
  • fivesagesfivesages Registered User Posts: 187 Junior Member
    I agree with @bjkmom...you should try to get it below the size. It's not difficult. Most of the time essays are riddled with non-critical or repetitive phrases/sentences.
  • LoveTheBardLoveTheBard Registered User Posts: 1,394 Senior Member
    edited November 14
    I have a few suggestions for more concise writing: First of all, contractions are your friends (e.g., I am ---> I'm; I would ---> I'd; they are ---> they're). Second, semicolons can be effective tools; use them well but judiciously. Lastly, avoid bad punctuation at all cost.

    Judging by how you phrased your question, you might be setting yourself up for unreadability and poor grammar. (Given that several readers had difficulty interpreting what you were trying to say, I suspect that's the case.) In any event, I'd have to see the context to better advise. Either a trusted reader on CC or an English teacher should be able to help with grammar and readability. Used them!

    For example, were I to edit how you had phrased your question, I'd suggest the following changes --

    1)
    "I often find myself having 152/150 or 254/250 etc ... words on my common app essay so I try to cheat by"

    can more succinctly expressed as follows:

    "I often HAVE too many words on my Common App essay; I try to cheat by...." or

    "My Common App essay is often 2-4 words over the limit; I try to cheat by...."

    2)
    "Is this a big problem ?" Delete big

    3)
    "I do not want to reformulate an entire phrase just because of 2/3 words , because , then I would have to change other parts as well and again other parts ... .

    can more succinctly expressed as follows:

    "I DON'T want to reformulate ENTIRE PHRASES because of a few words; I'D have to change other parts as well..."

    By my count, I've saved you between 5 and 10 words (or 5-10 words in shortened Common App speech) just by editing your question.

    Also, I noticed a couple of other grammatical issues:

    You have spaces before your commas, colons, and question marks. This is incorrect.
    Never use 2/3 instead of 2-3. (or 2 to 3). The first is a fraction/ration; the second two are ranges.

    Being succinct is an art. Practice it.


  • rosaliefontainerosaliefontaine Registered User Posts: 20 New Member
    edited November 14
    Based on how OP formatted the thread title (and the fact that he/she's from Romania and English isn't his/her first language), I'm pretty sure he/she is thinking that "this , comma" <- is correct formatting while "this, comma" <--- is incorrect. I believe OP is asking if they can change from the first to second to save on space. Firstly, I don't think this affects word or character count? Even so, at OP - I don't know how it works in Europe, but in America you are wrong the first time. The second form "this, comma" is actually correct, so regardless you should change it.
  • bjkmombjkmom Registered User Posts: 4,568 Senior Member
    I think the OP is trying to combine two words by using a comma, therefore reducing the word count.

    Aside from being a bad idea in terms of punctuation, it also won't work-- a comma separates two words, it doesn't combine them into a single word.
  • Mag AdrianMag Adrian Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    Rosaliefontaine is correct . Also , I am pretty bad at english (only got 111/120 on toefl and 650 on sat ebrw ). Anyway , I will ask my english teacher to correct my essays . I really thought that space is required between commas and words (before and after the comma)
    Thanks all for the responses .
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 27,180 Super Moderator
    edited November 15
    I don't know how it works in Europe, but in America you are wrong the first time. The second form "this, comma" is actually correct, so regardless you should change it.
    Well, I do know how it is in Europe. :) There is no space between the the comma and the preceding word. If Romania has different riles, IDK.
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