Concise Writing

 Repetition, filler phrases, clichés, and empty words can turn your prose into a briar patch. Leave time during proofreading to find and prune wordy outgrowths. Readers will appreciate how clearly your concise writing conveys ideas. This handout describes common issues and ways to repair them.

Cut the redundant

Many words and phrases repeat an idea and can be cut:

Redundant phrase: Change to:
each and every each
basic and fundamental basic
first and foremost first
big in size big
few in number few
sufficient enough sufficient
honest in character honest
plan in advance plan
general consensus consensus
my personal opinion my opinion
blue in color blue
final outcome outcome
most optimal optimal
totally devoid of devoid of

Cut the wordy

Some phrases are better expressed in one word:

Redundant phrase: Change to:
the reason for reason
is possible that may
a large proportion of most
not many few
take into consideration consider
in the event that if
was of the opinion that thought
for the purpose of for
not allow prevent
in the not too distant future soon
are in a position to can
in spite of the fact that although
prior to before
made a statement saying stated
at the present time now
at all times always
not often rarely
at the point in time then
engaged in an evaluation evaluating
the transportation of transporting

Cut the filler

Cut words that add nothing to the sentence: some words are only filler.


Club sports are basically individual student-led teams who practice in their particular sports and compete against various other club teams from their given colleges.

Common filler words:

  • absolutely
  • certain
  • various
  • really
  • interesting
  • virtually
  • quite
  • given
  • actually
  • awfully
  • basically
  • definitely
  • generally


Club sports are student-led teams who practice and compete against other college-level club teams.