17 phrases to avoid

Eliminate these wordy phrases and poor word choices, and you will add clarity to your speeches:

  1. And also. It’s usually redundant.
  2. And/or. Outside the legal world, the phrase is unnecessary. Use one word or the other.
  3. Basically, essentially and totally. Exclude them to tighten your phrases.
  4. Being that or being as. Those phrases are nonstandard substitutes for because.
  5. Considered to be. Eliminate the words to be, and your meaning will be clear and succinct.
  6. Due to the fact that. Convey your meaning with the simple word because.
  7. Each and every. Use one or the other, but not both.
  8. Equally as important. You can say equally important or as important as.
  9. Etc. That abbreviation conveys a hint of laziness, suggesting that you could provide more examples but you don’t want to bother.
  10. Firstly, secondly, thirdly. Number lists with first, second, third and so on, instead of using adverbial forms of the numbers.
  11. Get and got. Eliminate or replace those ugly and meaningless words whenever possible.
  12. Kind of or sort of. Those phrases sound fine in informal communications. But when you are giving formal presentations, use these substitutes: somewhat, rather or slightly.
  13. Lots or lots of. Avoid those colloquialisms in favor of many or much.
  14. Nature. Discussions of an urgent nature are really just urgent.
  15. Per. In legal jargon and technical specifications, per is acceptable. Elsewhere, use according to instead.
  16. Try. Never ask others to try to do something. Ask them to do it.
  17. Utilize. The word use is a better choice.

— Adapted from “Plague Words and Phrases,” Capital Community College,  http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/plague.htm.

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