It is necessary that you update and curate your writing with the changing rules of grammar. While writing, you can encounter dozens of phrases that could be removed or eliminated easily from your writing to make it better for your readers.
Hence this list is essential for understanding that. These examples are a result of deep dive into understanding the language and redundancy. Hence it is essential to remember the words that are not popular in vernacular language anymore. If you tighten your writing, it will help readers stay involved in your content and lead to more shares and increased engagement.
Thus the following is created for the reference of new writers or even for seasoned writers. The following might not be a comprehensive list of all the words, but it can be a good starting point for the writers. You may think that using more words gives your writing flair, but it’s the quality, not the quantity, of the words that counts. Wordiness can make writing unclear, and impatient readers will abandon a story if it’s convoluted.
Thus this can cause less engagement, fewer shares, and less traffic on your website. On the other hand, tighter writing gives your readers more clarity and coherence for understanding what message you are conveying through writing.
“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,” William Strunk and E.B. White wrote in “The Elements of Style.”
Do not use wordy phrases.
Do not use longer phrases and poetic phrases until necessary for your writing. Fancier language makes people confused, and they are not able to understand your message. As William Zinsser pointed out in “On Writing Well:
Fighting clutter is like fighting weeds — the writer is always slightly behind. New varieties sprout overnight, and by noon, they are part of American speech. Consider what President Nixon’s aide John Dean accomplished in just one day of testimony on television during the Watergate hearings. The next day, everyone in America was saying “at this point in time” instead of “now.”
The following are some important points you should consider
- Losing Focus
Do not include too many side conversations in your writing that will distract your reader from the main text and main point. Make sure that your paragraphs are objective and transparent, focus on your broader thesis, and every word should be intentionally placed in your text without leaving much room for ambiguity. Thus focus on organizing your text which is key to being focused. For instance, if you’re writing about politics on social media, don’t go too far into explaining Mark Zuckerberg’s personal life. Tip: Focus on one idea and transition from that efficiently
- Don’t use words unnecessarily
This is especially difficult for some writers to grasp. It is usually a result of bad habits developed early on in writing. You might have been short of a necessary word in your writing, and you may have filled it with something extremely superfluous. Thus there’s a difference between an idea that exists and another that needs an explanation. Thus introductory phrases that we think will help us guide are usually unnecessary for the readers. Eliminating uses of “in order to,” “in terms of,” “the fact of the matter,” “the reason is because,” “each and every,” or “in the process of,” as a few examples, will add up and alleviate the filler(Mondragon,2019).
3.Focus on being active
Focus on rephrasing your phrases so that they are changed into active voices—where the subject is usually carrying out the activities mentioned in the sentence —this will typically eliminate a handful of words and create something that’s much more coherent. For example, the following sentence has been changed from passive to active voice, trimming the word count and making it concise:
The french fries from the Burger Shack were being eaten by Courtney. (Passive)
Courtney ate the Burger Shack french fries. (Active)1
- Do not normalize
This is a prevalent phenomenon observed in most writing without the proper understanding of writers. Using nominalizations means using the noun forms of words meant to be used as verbs (Mondragan,2019)2. So, for instance, you can say, “The investigation of the corruption case 872 was completed by Nancy.” But, it’s more concise to say, “Nancy investigated the corruption case 872.” Reverse your sentences and use the verb forms when possible. Sentences with multiple nominalizations can usually be pared down to the main verb(Mondragan,2019)3.
- Don’t repeat
While editing your text, take a pen and paper and highlight the repeated words in your text. Make your text concise; it is essential to remember that you do not need to keep reminding the reader of something they have just read or something that you have already dictated in your text early on; constantly repeating a word can become annoying for the reader. Take this example:
Original: My boss asked me to reload the printer in our office. This printer wasn’t working, so I told the maintenance manager that it was malfunctioning.
Revised: My boss asked me to reload the printer in our office. It was malfunctioning, so I told the maintenance manager (ContentPro International)4.
- Create Categories
It is human nature to understand things that are understood in parts and concise and condensed for the human brain. The adequate number of points you can make is three. This is especially relevant when writing a scholarly paper. Use three steps, three categories, three sequences, or three bullet points. Focus on organizing your sections into sub-sections and subcategories. Graph your content into three data points of information. Focus on laying out your academic paper into three layers of discussion. It will help readers remember your content when it is so well structured, and because of this, they will look at your writing in a more favorable light.
- Don’t use adverbs and qualifiers
If you are using the following words excessively —such as really, very, basically, absolutely, etc.—it can be seen as lazy and lethargic; it is also an example of poor writing. Stumbling over too many “ly” words can cause the reader to question your authority on a subject matter or credibility with an argument5. These words are extremely natural to us because they are part of our day-to-day conversations. However, it is equally important to keep our content concise and organized. Adverbs are easily avoidable by using a more precise verb. We need to illustrate better what the action involves.
Example: My dog runs really fast through the dining room and awkwardly bumps into things.
Revision: My dog dashes through the dining room and whacks into things6.
- Use periods and paragraphs
When you are writing online text, writers will often chuck the entire piece of information into one giant volatile piece of information without distinguishing points. It can make readers dazed and confused.
Focus on breaking your writing into shorter parts and paragraphs, even if you’re stubborn about your paper’s organization. Cut long paragraphs into 3-4 sections. Read out your text loudly and confront your writing with someone more experienced. It will help you identify instances where your sentences may be exhausting or particularly difficult to dictate.
Laura Montragon compiles the following list after she observed the main phrases writers were using that were redundant7.
- a lot of → many
- due to the fact that → because
- in the event that → if
- have an impact on → affect, influence
- have an effect on → affect, influence
- the way in which → how
- the majority of → most
- in a similar manner → similarly
- more often than not → usually
- there are times when → sometimes
- precisely adjust → fine-tune
- more ways than one → multiple ways
- the time at which → when
- the place at which → where
- over the course of → throughout
- give the opportunity to → let, allow
- provide the ability to → let, allow
- are representative of → represent
- ensure the least amount → minimize
- ensure the largest amount → maximize
- specific to your wants and needs → customized
- features enough space on the inside to fully accommodate → fits
- specific enough to say exactly → specify
- by means of → by, via
- by way of → by, via
- in excess of → more than, over
- in order to → to
- in order for → for
- increase in size → grow
- decrease in size → shrink
- Redundant phrases
- still remain → remain
- retain the same → retain
- debris left behind → debris
- slam forcefully → slam
- glide smoothly → glide
- minor tweaks → tweaks
- exactly word for word → exactly OR word for word (pick one)
- brief jaunt → jaunt
- end result → result
- both of them → both
- middle ground in between → middle ground
- trailing behind → trailing
- grow larger → grow
- shrink smaller → shrink
- describe in words → describe
- have got (e.g., I’ve got) → have
- a variety of different things → a variety
- factor that plays a role → factor
- tailored to fit → tailored
- specific details → details
- minute details → minutiae
- check and see → check
- good-quality (adj.) → quality
- notification alert → notification (or alert)
- in close proximity to → close to
- whether or not → whether (unless it means regardless of whether)
- pick and choose → pick, choose, select
- annoyingly frustrating → frustrating, annoying
- Unnecessary prepositions
- descend down → descend
- ascend up → ascend
- grab onto → grab
- click on → click
- tap on → tap
- raise up → raise
- lower down → lower
- leak out → leak
- help out → help
- fill up → fill
- empty out → empty
- sink down → sink
- rise up → rise
- last for [length of time] → last [length of time]
- endure for [length of time] → endure [length of time]
- add together → add
- send out → send
- mail out → mail
- climb up → climb
- test out → test