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30 Obnoxious Phrases to Expunge from Your Writing Today

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Oct 4, 2013

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“Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.” ~William Strunk Jr. in Elements of Style

 

Whether it's a three-word quip, a 300-word review or a 3000-word essay, it’s easy to fall into the temptation and write the way ‘everyone else’ writes—not considering if there’s a simpler way to say something. But, one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd and improve your writing is to cut the clutter by eliminating unnecessary words and phrases in your text.

Many writers know they should not conflate their work with obnoxious words that don't really mean anything. The problem, however, lies in recognizing the source of wordiness in the articles, blog posts, e-mails, sales copy and even fiction we write. Not recognizing wordiness hinders us from achieving what Robert Hartwell Fiske, editor of the online journal Vocabula Review, calls "The Perfectibility of Words."

If you wish to write forcefully and professionally without trading in puffery, it’s vital that you expunge any important-sounding phrases that add nothing to the meaning of a sentence. Here are common, wordy phrases you should expunge from your writing as much as possible to achieve "The Perfectibility of Words" that Fiske talks about in The Dictionary of Concise Writing:

 

  1. mutual agreement

Just say agreement     

  1. future prospects

Just say prospects

  1. whether or not

Just say whether

  1. consensus of opinion

Just say consensus

  1. reconsider again

Just say reconsider

  1. return back

Just say return

  1. inadvertent error

Just say error

  1. at this point in time

Just say now/then

  1. for the purpose of

Just say to

  1. due to the fact that

Just say because

  1. in the near future

Just say soon

  1. in view of the fact that

Just say because

  1. there is no doubt that

Just say doubtless

  1. despite the fact that

Just say although

  1. concerning the matter of

 Just say about

  1. in the event that

 Just say if

  1. owing to the fact that/due to the fact that

 Just say since/because

  1. for the purpose of

 Just say to

  1. the question as to whether

Just say whether

  1. bring the matter to a conclusion

Just say conclude

  1. aware of the fact that

Just say know

  1. at this present time

Just say now/today

  1. it is clear that

Just say clearly

  1. is able to

Just say can

  1. in spite of the fact that

Just say even though

  1. seem to be

Just say seem

  1. on a personal basis

Just say personally

  1. until such a time as

Just say until

  1. the reason why is that

Just say because

  1. in this day and age

Just say today

 


David K. William is a web writer, publisher and designer. He writes and publishes articles, reports and fiction for web and print media. David is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.com. Follow him @DavidKWilliam.


 

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