Brevity in writing requires practice, discipline and ruthless editing of one’s own prose.
Excess words come in all categories – run-on sentences, superfluous adjectives, circular explanations and just plain sloppy editing.
There’s one category of commonly used excess words that you can easily avoid, whether you’re a professional writer or someone who simply wants to make your email correspondence better.
I call this category reinforcement redundancy. You think you’re doing the former but it’s actually the latter. I used to reach for these phrases to make something more conversational or because I thought referencing the past would make my “case” stronger. Neither were true.
When in doubt, avoid phrases like:
- Once again
- Like I said before
- You may remember
- As previously stated
- In other words
- As referenced earlier
Leave the past and all related references behind. By snipping away those extra words you’ll automatically make your writing crisper and more direct.
Note: I could have added any of the above phrases to the previous sentence and accomplished nothing. Instead, I had one strong, final sentence to end this post. (That is, of course, until I added this paragraph!)
Originally published on LinkedIn.
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