top of page

Call the Janitor! Word Clean-Up on Aisle 4

Many people think using a lot of words makes them sound smart. During the Watergate hearings, the expression ‘at this point in time’ became popular when the same meaning could be expressed with ‘now.’ Recently writers have begun using the expression ‘going forward,’ as in ’I will use fewer words going forward.’ (Shouldn’t the future tense imply that?) More words clutter your meaning. Your writing is all about getting your message across to readers. All those empty words make them work harder to get your meaning. They must try to find a diamond in the fluff.

Try cleaning up these sentences:

  1. I believe, for all intents and purposes, that these experiences fundamentally change our personal opinions. 16 words. These experiences change our opinions. 5 words 

  2. It likely holds true that a person who has not gone to college receives a diminished salary. 17 words. Non-college graduates earn less money. 5 words (Do we even need ‘money’?) 

  3. He didn’t manage to send the right package to the angry customer. 12 words. He sent the angry customer the wrong package. 8 words 

Unnecessary prepositional phrases are often a fluffy culprit:

  • In such a manner as to (to)

  • It is considered desirable (delete or write I want to or I would like)

  • It will be necessary to (I, we, they must)

  • In the event that (if)

  • At this point in time (now)

Replace vague verbs with strong ones.

  • Communicate with (talk, telephone, write)

  • Bring to a conclusion (conclude)

  • Exhibit a tendency (tend)

Always scour your writing and give those lazy words the boot. Need help? Business Writing That Counts! offers excellent janitorial services to help you clean up your prose. Call us: 425.485.3221.


Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page