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.
|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|
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|
Saying the same thing twice wastes words and time.
|anticipate in advance||anticipate|
|few in number||few|
|audible to the ear||audible|
|green in color||green|
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