Eliminating Superfluous Phrases

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In classes I have taught, students lean towards using phrases that they think make them “sound smarter” but end up making their work wordy and clunky. By streamlining your sentences and cutting out a few phrases, you can communicate your point much more effectively.

For example, here is a list of some that crop up frequently:

Needless to say…
If it’s so needless to say, then why are you saying it?

It goes without saying…
Same problem here; easier to get right to your point

For all intents and purposes…
Again, this could easily be cut and your sentence would begin with exactly what you intend to say.

In light of the fact that…
You could easily just say “Since…”

Clear concise writing applies to all genres and helps your audience understand your point without being bogged down.

Here are some quotations from newspapers that illustrate the cumbersome use of those phrases:

Payne, who turns 70 in October, will be succeeded by Fred Ridley, 65, a former U.S. Amateur champion and U.S. Golf Association president who has served as chair of Augusta National’s competition committee. The change becomes effective Oct. 16, although for all intents and purposes, Ridley is now in charge, taking over a vital leadership role in golf at a time of transition and challenge for the game throughout the world. – USA Today

It goes without saying that Democrats would view President Trump’s North Korean negotiations quite differently than Republicans, but I was honestly surprised by the strong negative reaction of Trump critics on the right. – USA Today

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12 thoughts on “Eliminating Superfluous Phrases”

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  3. Languages were made to offer ideas and communicate it. Some people might think that long sentences would ‘look’ better than the short ones. Seems more educated I think. But, if it doesn’t simply deliver the message, then the language had lost its main content and purpose.

  4. More or less, by and large, and in various and sundry ways, I would say that it does, indeed, for all intents and purposes go without saying that this article is, verily and forsooth, right on the money!!!

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