The quickest way to an engaging blog post, web page, or any form of communication is to employ a literary pair of scissors. The more extra words you make your readers read, the less interested they are in your point. If you aren’t a writer by trade, it may be hard for you to spot some of your extra words, so we’ve assembled some of the top “extras” here. Protip: use the find function in Word to highlight these words and erase them if they can be snipped without making the sentence illegible.

If a word adds nothing to the sentence, cut it out. The resulting tightening up of your piece will be remarkable.

1. That
“That” is by far the most overused word in most blog posts. It should be replaced in some instances by “which”.

2. Also
This word is my own personal literary bogeyman and I always check myself for it before publishing a post or sending anything off to a client. If you are presenting a list of ideas, “also” can get easily overused.

3. Then
“It can then” or “we can then” can easily be cut down and have way more impact by cutting out the “then”. If you are using then in context, such as describing a sequence of events, it shouldn’t be cut out.

Honourable Mention: However, meanwhile
Both of these words are usually not needed. If you really need to link an opposing viewpoint to a preceding statement of fact, “however” is the best way to do it. “Meanwhile” refers specifically to an instance in time and isn’t applicable when trying to conjoin two ideas.

When you start editing your own work, you’ll discover your own personal bad habit words. Take special note of them and run a “Find” for them before passing on any particularly important document. If a document is very important, have a friend or co-worker look at it for you before you pass it on, post it, or publish it.

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3 Responses to “Give Your Writing a Makeover by Cutting Out These Three Overused Words”

  1. Andrew Kardon 24. Apr, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

    Great tips. It’s almost like when you hear yourself speak, you can’t believe the number of times you say, “Ummm.” Trimming the useless words is a great start.

  2. admin 25. Apr, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    Thanks Andrew!

  3. Peter Henderson 23. May, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    I really enjoyed reading your three over used words post. I have mentioned these to people who I work with and my remarks usually fall on deaf ears so I edit their work and eliminate them. Our paths have crossed before Angela. We spoke on the phone a couple of years ago when I was looking for advice on setting up a blog. I am glad I have run into you through Twitter as a writer I do most of the writing for our projects but I do find times when I need someone who can do exactly what you do so well. So I will bookmark your site again, you never know.