Remember the days when school writing assignments were based strictly on page count? For some of us, that meant doing everything possible to lengthen the content, from widening the margins to writing wordy sentences. In the end, the goal was simply to fulfill that page count requirement. Unfortunately, I think many people carry that same mentality into adulthood. Far too many of us tend to write long, wordy phrases that bore the reader when we could choose concise solutions that get the point across. If you need to trim the excess fat from your next written communication, the following suggestions will help:
- Instead of is of the opinion, use believes.
- Instead of at this point in time, use now.
- Instead of over the long term, use ultimately.
- Instead of goes to show, use proves.
- Instead of it is imperative that, use must.
- Instead of par for the course, use typical.
- Instead of sick and tired, use annoyed.
- Instead of in spite of the fact that, use although.
- Instead of as a matter of fact, use in fact.
- Instead of in the event that, use if.
- Instead of take offense to, use resent.
Multi-syllable words often get in the way, cluttering your message. Whenever possible, choose a shorter, equally effective, option:
- Replace necessitate with require.
- Replace utilize with use.
- Replace methodology with method.
- Replace effectuate with effect.
- Replace terminate with end.
And avoid redundancy:
- Gift is better than free gift.
- Unanimous is better than completely unanimous.
- Circle is better than circle around.
- Summarize is better than summarize briefly.
- Innovation is better than new innovation.
- 5 weeks is better than period of 5 weeks.
While these examples are helpful, they barely scratch the surface. Please share your additional tips for fat-free writing.