Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clear Out Deadwood

I am jumping in for the next 4 weeks to give some writing tidbits that will strengthen your writing.

The first tidbit: clear out the deadwood. Deadwood refers to a word or phrase that can be omitted without loss in meaning.*

Look for:
  • Words or phrases that add unneeded bulk to a sentence and weaken its message (quite right, very unique)

  • Common phrases that are bloated with redundant words (added bonus, currently unavailable)

  • Unimportant words at the beginning of a sentence that push the most important information farther from the start (As a matter of fact, in the same way)

Look for these "deadwood" words and clear them out:

  • actively, actually, already, always, any, appropriate(ly), associated, automatic(ally)
  • currently
  • easily, existing, extremely
  • fairly
  • much
  • particular, predefined, previously
  • quickly, quite
  • rather, really
  • several, simply, so, suitable
  • totally
  • very

Do you have any favorite "deadwood" phrases that drive you nutty when you read them in an article, newsletter, etc? Please post them in the comment section...

I'll start with: " As you know..."

~Cindy Blomquist, Editor

*Chris Barr, The Yahoo! Style Guide (St. Marten's Griffen: New York, 2010) 288.


Tim and Susan said...

hmmmm, you got me thinking on these...I'll get back to you


Ellie said...

As a matter of fact, under normal circumstances, I can't think of any really useless words or phrases or tidbits that I might use fairly unknowingly or unwittingly in basic writing. I will have to watch our for any from here on out.

Women of the Harvest Blogs said...

@Ellie...I may not be the smartest girl in the room (or on the blog), but that was brilliantly put.


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