Eliminate Unnecessary Words

How can unnecessary words or phrases be eliminated?

  • Revise redundant phrases, synonymous terms, and unnecessary word pairs.
    • Quickly speeding (speeding implies quickness)
    • Young teenage mothers (young and teenage are synonyms)
    • Financial cost (financial and cost both imply money)
  • Revise redundant terms in order to be more efficient.
    • Redundant: Young adults should self-assess their situation before making a big, life-changing decision.
    • Revised: Young adults should assess their situation before making a major decision.
  • Remove redundant adjectives and adverbs; use only those that contribute to the intended message.
    • Overuse of adjectives: The large, angry, noisy crowd stormed the Capital building.
    • Revised: The mob stormed the Capital building.
    • Overuse of adverbs: She carefully and quietly walked through the room.
    • Revised: She crept through the room.
  • Remove redundant modifiers; overuse clutters the writing and distracts the reader.
    • Overuse of modifiers: The business capitalists, who focus on domestic interests, only really invest in American groups.
    • Revised: The business capitalists rarely invest in international groups.
  • Eliminate to be verbs.

    The overuse of “to be” verbs can weaken the effect of your writing. Remember that because verbs indicate the action and energy of your sentences, they are very important.  Active verbs add flavor to our sentences. When we rely too much on “to be” verbs, our writing becomes wordy and boring. Including active verbs shortens the sentences and makes them easier to understand.

Overuse of “To Be”Active Verbs
One difference between watching television and reading is that reading is an activity that is dependent upon more participation while watching television is a more passive activity.Reading differs from watching television because reading requires active participation while watching television allows the viewer to sit back and relax.
I am about to be fired.My boss will soon fire me.
If you are okay with this proposition, let me know.If you accept this proposition, let me know.
People are always saying that I am an intellectually gifted person.People often praise me for my intellectual giftedness.

 For additional information on eliminating unnecessary words, see also: