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Do you really need all those words?

This writing tip is about less is more. Literally. It’s about using fewer words to communicate more clearly and effectively.

Part of that is about learning to use straightforward language and minimising jargon and bluster. But that’s for another blog post.

A quick way to add a bit of zing to your writing is simply to cut out unnecessary words.
There are dozens of common expressions, phrases and clichés, that we all use out of habit, but which add nothing but clutter to our sentences.
For example:
We invested a total of £10m in the new building – a total of can be safely deleted without it changing the meaning of the sentence at all.
Similarly with the sum of or the amount of.
Or at this moment in time, as if a moment could be in anything other than time.
There are dozens of phrases like this that can either be removed completely or expressed more concisely.
Here’s a few more:

despite the fact that – despite

designed (or aims) to provide – provides

in spite of the fact that – although

in all probability – probably

on a monthly basis – monthly

full and final – just full (or just final)

first and foremost – first

it would be safe to say that X is… – X is…

in excess of – more than

in respect of – for

in the event of – if

prior to – before

with regard to – about

in order to – to

as and when – when

each and every – each (or every)

So the next time you find yourself automatically using one of these phrases – or many more like it – ask yourself, do you really need all those words?