Five More Words to Eliminate from Your Writing

5 more words to eliminate from your writing - nextstepediting.com

  • Literally– To quote John Mayer, “Say what you mean to say.” If it’s literally 110 degrees outside, you don’t need to tell us it’s literal, we believe you. But, if you use “literally” when you don’t mean it, it’s confusing. “I’m so busy today I’m literally going in ten directions at once!” You are busy, but you aren’t literally going ten directions at once. 
  • Begin (or began/beginning) to– There’s almost no reason to add this phrase. “I’m beginning to read a new book” isn’t as clear as “I’m reading a new book” or even “I started a new book.”
  • Often– Tell us how often. Once week? Three times this month? Six times since you graduated? Those time frames are much clearer than “often.”
  • Redundant phrases- For example, “each individual,” “often times,” and “unexpected surprise.”
  • Really– I really like lemonade. Often, when it’s really hot, like literally 110 degrees and I’m beginning to sweat, I am drinking it. (See what I did there?)

Have you seen the first five words to eliminate? Any more to add to the lists?

Comments

  1. Dawn says:

    I edit a lot of things for my husband and I am always cutting out his redundancies!

    Great list & tips.

  2. I love writing and editing and am happy to have found your blog. My favorite word to eliminate is “there.” My high school writing teacher (MANY years ago!) forbade using “there” to begin a sentence. He believed it was lazy and made sentences weak and vague. I thought he was too picky but, of course, he was entirely correct!

  3. Patti says:

    This post made me literally smile. I thought it was really funny because often times I do this. But I’m beginning to get better. 😉

    • Sandra says:

      Funny! 🙂

  4. Cece says:

    Great post,
    And I hate to say this,
    But…
    It’s John Mayer*

    • Sandra says:

      Oh no! Thanks for telling me!

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