There are a lot of people who feel that using more words in a sentence makes them look smarter or more important. I don’t have statistics, but I don’t think hard research is necessary – you and I have both seen them, spoken with them, and worked with or for them.
A number of years ago, I worked for a person who felt it necessary to close business correspondence with something like this:
“If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at the number reflected below.”
I promptly changed the business letter template to read:
“Please contact me if you have any questions.”
Short, professional, and to the point.
Truth be told, in most instances that line isn’t even necessary. Believe me, if someone has a question, he or she will let you know! But since I wasn’t in charge, I had to make a few compromises to keep the peace.
In my experience, wordiness can be a sign of insecurity (“Hey! Look at me! I know lots and lots of words, and I can use them all!”) or simply inexperience as a writer. I’m guessing the following sentence fragment from an online story falls into the latter category:
“…police say there is not believed to be a threat to the community.”
How about: “…police believe there is no threat to the community.”
Or: “…police say they believe there is no threat to the community.”
Words. Use them wisely.