No matter what you’re writing, every word needs to contribute to your message. When you use filler words, you make your communication less effective.
Eliminate those filler words
When you finish your first draft, and have set it aside for up to a month, pick it up and read it like someone in your target audience. Look for words that don’t move your story along, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. These extra words add nothing to your work.
Some filler words to look for
- For some reason
Everything is done for a reason, so there’s no value in stating the obvious. Just state the main thought. Example: For some reason, the water wasn’t running. Just say The water wasn’t running.
This word is as wasteful as “for some reason”. Example: Somehow, time seemed to stand still. Just say Time seemed to stand still.
- At (this/that/etc.) (moment/point/etc.) in time
Instead of using so many words and interrupting the flow, just use now or then. Example: At that instant, she had an “aha” moment. Just say She then had an “aha” moment.
- Give or take …
Though there are appropriate used for these words, they’re often unnecessary. Example: He gave her a kiss on the cheek. Just say He kissed her on the cheek. Example: Joe and Jane took a stroll along the waterfront. Just say Joe and Jane strolled along the waterfront.
- The fact of the matter Is / the truth is / due to the fact that (and the like)
Too much clutter. Example: The fact of the matter is that you don’t need so many words. Just say You don’t need so many words? Example: Do to the fact that it was raining, we stayed home. Just say, Because it was raining, we stayed home.
- So as to / In order to
The first two words in each phrase are superfluous. Example: In order to look thinner, she wore a black wrap-around dress. Just say To look thinner, she wore a black wrap-around dress.
- It Goes Without Saying
The truth is that if it goes without saying, don’t say it. Example: It goes without saying that to be an entrepreneur you have to take risks. Just say To be an entrepreneur you have to take risks.
When you edit, get rid of unnecessary filler words. To be an effective writer, it helps to be an efficient writer. Edit for impact.
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