Rid Your Writing of These Words

Clean up your writing by removing unnecessary words that distract the reader. Search for and delete these words:

  • Started. If you are referencing a specific action in time, as in “I started working here five years ago,” use it. However, don’t use “started” simply to indicate action. Example: Instead of saying “He started to move the chairs around,” say “He moved the chairs around.”
  • Suddenly. It’s meant to evoke surprise, however, it usually slows down the reader. Skip it and go straight to the action.
  • Very or really. In most cases, neither word adds anything. Use more descriptive words to emphasize a point. Example: Instead of “She was quick to handle the customer’s issue,” say “She handled the customer’s issue in under five minutes.”

— Adapted from “8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing,” Robbie Blair, http://litreactor.com.

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