Close your eyes. Imagine words as people in an office setting. The verbs scurry about, active and animated, getting things done. The adjectives and adverbs conjure ideas and images in the marketing department. But there’s always that one guy. See him? He’s over by the water cooler, leaning against the wall. He’s omnipresent, and yet nobody really knows what he does. He may be hanging around, but he sure doesn’t seem to be pulling his weight. That One Guy could represent any word or phrase that always shows up in our writing but doesn’t contribute anything. Here’s a list of thirty-one words and phrases you need to take off your payroll this year.
(Contributed by Karen Hertzberg)
Slacker Words and Phrases
At all times
Watch out for flabby phrases at all times.
Each and every
Look for filler words in your writing each and every day daily.
We don’t know as yet whether we’ll succeed.
Eliminate excess verbiage in order to clean up your writing.
These words basically don’t add value. They’re essentially useless.
Totally, completely, absolutely, literally, actually
Without filler words, your writing will be totally fabulous.
Very, really, quite, rather, extremely
These very common words are really not useful. They’re rather dull.
Simply Simply Don’t use this word often.
It’s a pretty good idea to use this one sparingly, too.
If your sentence works without it, you just don’t need this word.
This is a word that you should only use when you need it for clarity.
We don’t care whether you stand up or sit down to write, just write cleanly!
In the process of
We’re in the process of learning to remove wordiness.
As a matter of fact
As a matter of fact, Your skills have improved.
All of Your readers will enjoy reading cleaner copy.
You’ll be known as being a proficient writer!
Being that Because you’re the best writer in your class, you’re sure to get good grades.
During the course of
During the course of the writing lesson, we learned some new tricks!
For all intents and purposes, For the most part
For all intents and purposes, Our writing has improved.
Point in time
You don’t need to use filler words at this point in time now.
Every word needs to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that don’t contribute anything but clutter. Now that you have a list of common offenders, how many more can you think of?