Login
Password

Forgot your password?

Seven Words to Cut, Whatever You've Written

By Edited Aug 5, 2014 2 3

Whether you need to cut your article down to a particular wordcount, or just want to make the language as tight as possible, a good way to start is by looking for the following words: both, more than, that, the, to, and which. Often they can be removed without causing confusion or grammatical problems. 

Both

Look at these sentences:

Both my wife and I exercise on Sunday.

The chef tasted both the appetizer and the main course before sending them to the customers.

There's no need to use both in either sentence, because the two people/items have been clearly identified. Restrict the use of both to situations where it's needed to make it clear you're talking about two (not more) things. For instance:

Both of my brothers work in the oil industry.

Newspapers

More than

More than, of course, can be replaced with over in cases like this:

He's written more than a dozen books.

In some situations, it can be dropped altogether:

The arena has seats for more than 10,000 people.

Obviously, if it has seats for more than 10,000 people, it can be said to have seats for 10,000 people. We can cut out two words. Also, the journalist in me loves precision, and would prefer an exact figure:

The arena has seats for 10,406 people.

That

Look to delete that in instances like these:

She's so pretty you can be sure that every boy in the class wants to talk to her. 

I was so angry that I broke my rule.

It rained so hard that we gave up trying to stay dry.

The

Think carefully if this word is needed. Here it isn't:

Of all the fruits, my personal favorite is pineapple.

While we're at it, I'd also change personal favorite to favorite. By definition, favorites are personal.

To

Think about ditching this word in situations like these:

Your excellent training provided opportunities that helped me to fully realize my potential.

The coach helped her to improve her tennis.

Which

Take a look at this, and you'll see why which can often be dropped:

The aim of the farm is to give urban residents a taste of rural life and the satisfaction of nurturing something which they can later eat.

And finally...

Many editors regard an abundance of superfluous words as evidence of poor writing and a lack of professionalism. For your own sake, pay attention to this issue before submitting any articles to paying publications. Of course, tackling verbiage is just one facet of editing; this ebook is a comprehensive guide to every aspect of the process.

Copyediting and Proofreading For Dummies
Amazon Price: $19.99 $10.88 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 5, 2014)
Commonsense advice useful for people in the media, advertising, marketing and other fields.
Advertisement
Advertisement

Comments

Jun 3, 2014 10:50pm
spotila
Hmmm, great stuff, thanks for this. I make a few of these mistakes.
Jun 20, 2014 10:08pm
shar-On
Wow, I appreciate this information as I am one of the worst at putting extra words into sentences. One of mine is need to, I am trying to cut some of them out but not doing very good at it.
Dec 3, 2014 8:14am
SuMoksha
interesting article :) never thought about it.
Add a new comment - No HTML
You must be logged in and verified to post a comment. Please log in or sign up to comment.

Explore InfoBarrel

Auto Business & Money Entertainment Environment Health History Home & Garden InfoBarrel University Lifestyle Sports Technology Travel & Places
© Copyright 2008 - 2016 by Hinzie Media Inc. Terms of Service Privacy Policy XML Sitemap

Follow IB Business & Money