The first tidbit: clear out the deadwood. Deadwood refers to a word or phrase that can be omitted without loss in meaning.*
- Words or phrases that add unneeded bulk to a sentence and weaken its message (
- Common phrases that are bloated with redundant words (
- 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)
- easily, existing, extremely
- particular, predefined, previously
- quickly, quite
- rather, really
- several, simply, so, suitable
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.