Writing should be clean, clear, and concise. Useless words clutter sentences and obscure ideas. (See On Writing Well by William Zinsser and The Writer’s Art by James J. Kilpatrick)
Wordy: Because of the increased economic demands I am facing in my personal life, I find it necessary to request monetary assistance and relief in my professional field.
Concise: I need a raise.
Cut Out Filler
Some words and phrases can be deleted without any loss of meaning.
Wordy: The columns must be aligned in an accurate manner.
Concise: The columns must be accurately aligned.
Wordy Concise
regardless of the fact that although
it is obvious that obviously
it may be that perhaps
it is believed by some that some people believe
Verb Power
Utilize strong rather than wimpy verbs. Try to avoid verb phrases in formal writing.
Wordy Verb Phrases Economical Verbs
put the emphasis on emphasize
make a comparison compare
have an understanding of understand
Eliminate Redundancies
Saying the same thing twice wastes words and time.
Redundant Clear
absolutely essential necessary
anticipate in advance anticipate
few in number few
final outcome outcome
audible to the ear audible
combine together combine
green in color green
join together join
dead corpse corpse
true facts facts
Avoid Needless Repetition
Some repetition is used for emphasis. Other repetition may not be useful.
Repetitive: Walking up to the front door, I came upon the skull of a cow placed next to the front door.
Effective: Walking up to the house, I came upon the skull of a cow placed next to the front door.
-Adapted from The Practical Writer’s Guide