Avoiding Wordiness: 330 Examples & What to Use Instead

“A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.”
―William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style

You’ve probably come across more than one article, blog post, or product description that took way longer to get to the point.

In your frustration, you may have started skimming the piece, missing important information along the way.

Alternatively, you may have turned the page or clicked away.

Either way, you’ve wasted time, and the writer has wasted both their time and yours.

Creative writing offers a little more leeway with the use of language.

Depending on the genre in question, the setting of a story (fictional or real), or the character, flowery phrases may be appropriate to convey authenticity.

Song lyrics require an occasionally awkward turn of phrase to keep a line’s length and beat consistent with the others. The same goes for poetry in general.

Most other writing―be it journalism, business writing, or web writing―lends itself to a spare, even Spartan, style.

Unless a reader wants to be transported to another world, they probably just want you to get to the point. It’s not that they don’t want to hear what you have to say; it’s that they DO want to hear you. Right away.

Sandwiching your message between unneeded verbiage helps no one. It doesn’t make you sound smarter, clearer, or more persuasive. It’s. Just. Noise.

The next time you sit down to write, the burning question running through your mind after each period should be, “Do I really need to tell them this?”

Without further ado, here are 330 examples of common cases of wordiness (as of Nov. 12, 2020), along with shorter alternatives.

BUT: Keep a word or phrase if …

  • removing it ruins the grammatical structure.
  • it’s a key idea, fact, feeling, or description.
Number Example Use instead
1 a little bit “a bit” or “a little”
2 a number of some, many
3 a total of 12 items 12 items
4 a variety of different things a variety
5 accomplish do
6 accrue gain
7 add together add
8 add up add
9 added bonus bonus
10 addressee you
11 advance forward advance
12 advance planning planning
13 advance reservation reservation
14 advance warning warning
15 after the conclusion of after
16 all of all
17 all-time record record
18 annoyingly frustrating frustrating, annoying
19 anonymous stranger stranger
20 any and all any or all
21 apparently (Delete)
22 apportion out apportion
23 are representative of represent
24 as a matter of fact in fact
25 as far as [X] is concerned regarding (or reword the sentence)
26 as of this writing now, currently
27 as per per
28 as regards about
29 ascend up ascend
30 ask a question ask
31 at the current time now, currently
32 at the present time now, currently
33 at the same time as as
34 at the time of publication now, currently
35 at this point in time now, currently
36 ATM machine ATM
37 based on the fact that because
38 basic essentials essentials
39 basic fundementals fundementals
40 basic necessities necessities
41 basically (Delete)
42 be aware of the fact that note, understand
43 beat out beat
44 biography of her life biography
45 both agree agree
46 both of them both
47 brief jaunt jaunt
48 brief moment moment
49 brief summary summary
50 by means of by, via
51 by way of by, via
52 cameo appearance cameo
53 cheaper price cheaper or “lower price”
54 check and see check
55 circle around circle
56 clean up clean
57 click on click
58 climb up climb
59 close intimates intimates
60 close proximity near, proximity
61 close scrutiny scrutiny
62 cluster together cluster
63 colder temperature colder or “lower temperature”
64 collaborate together collaborate
65 collide into each other collide
66 combine together combine
67 come to an end end
68 comes equipped with includes, comes with, is preinstalled, is preloaded
69 comes with it right out of the box includes, comes with, is preinstalled, is preloaded
70 commence start
71 compete with each other compete
72 completely destroyed destroyed
73 completely finished finished
74 completely opposite opposite
75 completely surrounded surrounded
76 completely unanimous unanimous
77 components that make up components
78 concerning the matter of about
79 consensus of opinion consensus
80 consequently so
81 considering the fact that because, since
82 continue on continue
83 cooperate together cooperate
84 crammed close together crammed
85 currently at this time currently, now
86 dark, black sky black sky
87 debris left behind debris
88 debut of a new product product debut
89 deceptive lie lie
90 decrease in size shrink
91 Definitely (Delete)
92 depart from depart
93 descend down descend
94 describe in words describe
95 despite the fact that although, even though
96 detrimentally affect harm, hurt
97 dry desert desert
98 due to the fact that because
99 during the period during
100 each and every each
101 elements that are a part of elements
102 emit out emit
103 empty out empty
104 empty void void
105 encounter meet
106 end result result
107 endure for <length of time> endure <length of time>
108 ensure the largest amount maximize
109 ensure the least amount minimize
110 enter into (buildings) enter
111 escape from escape
112 essentially (Delete)
113 exact same same
114 exactly the same the same
115 exactly word for word exactly or “word for word” (pick one)
116 exit out of exit
117 expedite speed up
118 extremely (Delete)
119 factor that plays a role factor
120 fade away fade
121 famous celebrity celebrity
122 far away from far from
123 fill up fill
124 finish up finish
125 first and foremost foremost
126 flee from flee
127 following on after
128 for all intents and purposes (Delete)
129 for the purpose of (+ gerund) to
130 for the reason that because
131 foreign imports imports
132 forward progress progress
133 free gift gift
134 fundamental basis basis
135 fuse together fuse
136 future ahead future
137 generally (Delete)
138 give the opportunity to let, allow
139 glide smoothly glide
140 good-quality quality
141 grab onto grab
142 grow larger grow
143 has enough space on the inside to fully accommodate fits
144 has the ability to can
145 has the capacity to/for can
146 have an effect on affect, influence
147 have an impact on affect, influence
148 have got (e.g., I’ve got) have
149 have the capability to can
150 he is a man who is he is
151 head up head
152 help out help
153 high up in high in
154 hotter temperature hotter or “higher temperature”
155 how-to tutorials tutorials
156 human artifact artifact
157 I believe (Delete)
158 I feel (Delete)
159 I think that (Delete)
160 impacts that result from impacts, results
161 In a place where where
162 in a similar manner similarly
163 in a situation in which when
164 in advance of before
165 in an effort to to
166 in close proximity to close to
167 in connection with about
168 in excess of more than, over
169 in light of the fact that considering
170 in my own personal opinion in my opinion
171 in order for for
172 in order to to
173 in reference to about
174 In some ways (Delete)
175 in spite of the fact that although or though
176 in terms of regarding (or recast the sentence)
177 in the amount of for
178 in the amount of <specific amount> for <specific amount>
179 in the direction of toward (U.S.) or towards (UK)
180 in the event that if
181 in the near future soon (or be more specific about the time)
182 in view of the fact that because
183 inadvertent error error
184 increase in size grow
185 insist adamantly insist
186 is able to can
187 is capable of can
188 is located in is in
189 it could happen that may, might, can, could
190 it is often the case that often
191 it is possible that may, might, can, could
192 it is requested please
193 it’s important to note that notably
194 Jewish rabbi rabbi
195 join together join
196 jump up jump
197 laptop computer laptop
198 last for <length of time> last <length of time>
199 leak out leak
200 leave from leave
201 less than great subpar, mediocre, OK
202 less than spectacular subpar, mediocre, OK
203 lift up lift
204 linger around linger
205 lower down lower
206 mail out mail
207 make a choice choose
208 make a contribution to contribute
209 make a decision decide
210 match up match
211 merge together merge
212 methodology method
213 middle ground in between middle ground
214 minor tweaks tweaks
215 minute details minutiae
216 more better better
217 more often than not usually
218 more ways than one multiple ways
219 morph for the worse deform
220 mutual agreement agreement
221 new innovation innovation
222 not too long from now soon (or be more specific about the time)
223 not very good subpar, mediocre, OK
224 notification alert notification or alert
225 notwithstanding the fact that although, even, though
226 now pending pending
227 numerous many
228 on sale for a discounted rate “on sale,” “on discount,” or discounted
229 on the grounds that because
230 on the occasion of when
231 on the part of by
232 once used to do did (or used to)
233 one and the same the same
234 orbit around orbit
235 over the course of throughout
236 overexaggerate exaggerate
237 owing to the fact that because
238 past history history
239 period of four days four days
240 permeate through permeate
241 pick and choose pick, choose, select
242 plan out plan
243 precisely adjust fine-tune
244 present incumbent incumbent
245 prior to before
246 proceed forward proceed
247 progress forward progress
248 provide the ability to let, allow let, allow
249 provided that if
250 raise up raise
251 rarely ever rarely
252 really (Delete)
253 reconsider again reconsider
254 reflect back on reflect on
255 regardless of the fact that although, even, though
256 regress backward regress
257 rejected outcast outcast
258 related to each other related
259 relative to about
260 repeat again repeat
261 retain the same retain
262 retreat back retreat
263 return back return
264 revert back revert
265 rise up rise
266 roasting in heat roasting
267 sad lament lament
268 safe haven haven
269 same identical identical
270 scrutinize very carefully scrutinize
271 send out send
272 share in common share together
273 share the same share (or have the same)
274 shift around shift
275 shorter/longer in length shorter/longer
276 shout out shout
277 shrink smaller shrink
278 simultaneously with as
279 sink down sink
280 sit down sit
281 slam forcefully slam
282 small bits bits
283 soar up soar
284 specific details details
285 specific enough to say exactly specify
286 specific to your wants and needs customized
287 spin around spin
288 start off start
289 still remain remain
290 subsequent to after
291 sudden impulse impulse
292 tailored to fit tailored
293 take into consideration consider
294 tall skyscraper skyscraper
295 tap on tap
296 tend to (Delete)
297 test out test
298 the fact that Delete “the fact”” and/or reword the sentence.
299 the fact that it doesn’t have ”its lack of,” “its omission of” or reword the sentence.
300 the majority of most
301 the place at which where
302 the reason for because, since
303 the reason why is that because
304 the thing is that (Delete)
305 the time at which when
306 the truth is that (Delete)
307 the way in which how
308 there are times when sometimes
309 there is a chance that may, might, can, could
310 tragically sad tragic
311 trailing behind trailing
312 true fact fact
313 two opposites opposites
314 under circumstances in which when
315 unexpected surprise surprise
316 urban city city
317 used to at one time used to
318 used to in the past used to
319 utilize use
320 various (Delete)
321 vast majority majority
322 very Delete or replace with with a stronger, more accurate adjective.
323 virtually (Delete)
324 when it comes to regarding (or reword the sentence)
325 where . . . is concerned about
326 whether or not whether (unless it means regardless of whether)
327 which was when when
328 with regard to about
329 with the exception of except
330 yearly annual annual or annually

This page is constantly updated and further words and phrases are added from time to time.

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  • If you want an example added to the list, feel free to comment below.
    • Actually, it helps. A good teacher would accept a shorter essay if it doesn’t have redundant words or phrases…

      • Probably. Sixty-seven percent. A good chance. It might. It’s a common outcome. A prediction would be yes.

  • Love it. I shared this with my team.

    Any chance you can add “indicate” to your list? E.g.:

    indicate -> use “show” or “point out” instead

    Cheers 🙂

  • Mark Twain used many wonderful words in his take-down of “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offences.” You can google it. It’s wonderful!

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