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.
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?