Verbosity – We Should Know Better!


I recently discovered a list of superfluous words that we use in our writing, and as it is such a soapbox issue for me I thought I would share it with you, courtesy of PR Daily, who quote Strunk and White as advising, “Make every word tell”  (Redundant words are italicised):
added bonus
advance planning
armed gunman
• circulate around
• close proximity
completely full
• consensus of opinion
• each individual person
• fewer in number
final outcome
free gift
future plans
general public
• in the month of September
invited guests
• join together
• large in size
major breakthrough
• my personal opinion
on a daily basis
past experience
past history
• period of time
• predict in advance
• red in color
• revert back
• round in shape
• firm in consistency
still continues
• sum total
true fact
unexpected surprise
unsolved mystery
• visible to the eye
12 noon (or midnight)
• 7 a.m. in the morning

I also wanted to add my own personal pet hate of ‘literally’ as in ‘it literally broke in half’.  What does that add to the meaning?  Most dictionaries list it as an ‘intensifier’ but when you are trying to be succinct is it really necessary?  Perhaps they should bring back Summary and Directed Writing into schools!

This list also reminded me of another blog with a list of words to avoid – but for very different reasons: Five Words to Avoid in Business.

I think we often just rattle off an email, even if it is part of a marketing campaign, without the careful thought, read-throughs and checks we would give to text that is part of a piece of literature.  Is it in the back of our minds that the recipient’s finger is already hovering over the delete key.

Equally I think a lot of us don’t do as much checking of blogs, knowing that we can easily go in and correct it if necessary.  But do we go back and review that blog or post and amend it?  And yet it will stay in the ether for posterity – long past the life of most literature – ready to be recalled at the click of a mouse.

Hmmm – guess I better give this a good check then!



2 thoughts on “Verbosity – We Should Know Better!

  1. I’m fond of “at a fast rate of speed” instead of just “fast.” Also, “end result” instead of “result.” “Conduct a search” instead of “search.” And lots, lots more.

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