If you’ve been writing for most of your life, you’ll probably agree that editing is the hardest part of the craft. For those of us who take our art seriously, the joy of creation is always followed by the challenge of polishing, which can be especially difficult for those of us who deal with the many rules of English. One of the most common mistakes inexperienced writers make is using unnecessarily wordy phrases in their first drafts, which is why the Elevate – Brain Training app includes a game called Clarity, an exercise that teaches players how to simplify said phrases to improve the flow of their writing. I’ve learned quite a few editing tips from this game, and I think you might find them useful too!
So for your reference, here are 14 wordy phrases you should eliminate from your writing during the editing phase. Enjoy!
1) As long as: a common phrase used to indicate that something will happen under a certain condition. Simplify “as long as” with “if”.
2) At the end of: indicates something that is last or that follows something else. “Simplify “at the end of” with “after”.
3) Draw attention to: refers to someone or something that deserves notice. Simplify “draw attention to” with “highlight”.
4) Give an indication of: implies a hint or a glimpse of something. Simplify “give an indication of” with “indicate” or “reveal”.
5) Have an effect on: the passive form of the verb “affect”. Simplify “have an effect on” with “affect” or “influence”.
6) Hold a conference: passive phrase meaning to gather people to talk. Simplify “hold a conference” with “confer”.
7) In conjunction: indicates two events that are connected. Simplify “in conjunction” with “along”.
8) Not the same: negative phrase indicating something that differs from a given subject. Simplify “not the same” with “different”.
9) Notwithstanding the fact: redundant when the fact is explained in the sentence. Simplify “notwithstanding the fact” with “although”.
10) Owing to the fact: also redundant when the fact is already explained. Simplify “owing to the fact” with “because”.
11) Relating to: indicates something related to a given subject. Simplify “relating to” with “about”.
12) Spell out: informal phrase meaning to describe something in detail. Simplify “spell out” with “explain”.
13) Take action: the passive form of the verb “act”. Simplify “take action” with “act”.
14) There is a chance it will: lengthy phrase used to indicate that something might happen. Simplify “there is a chance it will” with “it may”.
Are you guilty of using any of these phrases? What other wordy phrases would you add to this list?