Tag Archives: writer

What Words and Phrases Can We Eliminate From Our Writing?

Screen Shot 2017-08-23 at 10.57.36 AMHow can Twitter’s 140 character missives, and pithy Snapchat highlights get translated into our everyday writing as communicators?

Every time I reach for my AP Style Book, I am reminded of a college journalism professor who left her mark on me for a couple of reasons: First, we had weekly quizzes on the AP Style Book, which was a great way to learn and practice the rules. And if you weren’t sure there was a rule, at least we all learned to use the book to see if a rule existed.

Second, she was a stickler for writing in the simplest terms, using concise, action words and cutting out fat from our writing. Following is a list of words or phrases that should be eliminated from our writing, along with a suitable replacement word. Just like Bitly and Tiny URL help us shorten URLs for social media, this list can help tighten all of our writing. What are some of your favorite words or phrases that can be omitted and replaced with a single word?

Instead of: Use:
In order to To
Utilize Use
Very ugly, very fat, very angry Hideous, obese, furious
In the event that If
On account of the fact that

Because of the fact that

Due to the fact that

In spite of the fact that Although, though, despite
In the absence of Without
In the event that If
A large proportion of Many
In a situation in which When
There is a need for Must
Subsequent to After
Impact on Affect
Along the lines of Like
At the present time Now, currently



Tips to Live By to Become a Stronger Writer

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 3.27.25 PMA recent presentation to a group of juniors and seniors at Colorado Christian University reminded me of the critical skills that public relations professionals must have:

  • Relationships with media and pitching
  • Expertise with social media channels to communicate with target audiences
  • Understanding of the client’s business
  • Problem-solving
  • Strategic thinking
  • Writing

I told this class of eager, young students that being a strong writer is as important today as it ever was, and it’s the one skill that will make the difference in getting a job interview or not. The best way to become better at it is to write every day – whether it’s your own blog, a journal, or volunteering to write for a nonprofit organization. The key is to do it.

I found this this article, How to Improve Everything You Write in Three Minutes of Less, a great reminder of how to cut the “fat” out of writing and make each piece stronger.

Another worthwhile read: 7 “Tricks” to Improve Your Writing Overnight. What tips have you learned along the way to improve your own writing skills?