Saturday, August 29, 2015

3 Words You Should Never Ever Use

We reward disruptors like Uber and Airbnb for obliterating needless stuff.

You can reward audiences by eliminating these three needless words from your writing.


Writers too often use “that” without purpose. Whenever you use the word, ask yourself whether you can ditch it; chances are, you can. I think that you will find that our prices are competitive becomes I think you will find our prices are competitive.


Writers hope to intensify words by slapping "very" in front of them; but the word adds no value. Our CSRs are always professional reads better than Our CSRs are always very professional.


Overuse has sullied “awesome.” The word once meant "inspiring" or "daunting," and was reserved for descriptions of mountains and miracles, not candies and cupcakes. So avoid it. Our cloud suite is awesome is less credible—and more cheesy—than Our cloud suite is first rate. (Least cheesy might be Our cloud suite is comprehensive, reliable and easy to use.)

But never say never: needless words can enhance your writing.

E. B. White, a crusader for concision, once advised a fellow writer:

"It comes down to the meaning of ‘needless.’ Often a word can be removed without destroying the structure of a sentence, but that does not necessarily mean that the word is needless or that the sentence has gained by its removal. If you were to put a narrow construction on the word ‘needless,’ you would have to remove tens of thousands of words from Shakespeare, who seldom said anything in six words that could be said in twenty. Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound. How about ‘tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow?’ One tomorrow would suffice, but it’s the other two that have made the thing immortal."

Now that is very awesome!
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