9 Words to Cut From Your Writing in 2023
To help you improve your writing, we asked professionals from various industries to share one word they believe should be avoided. From a managing partner’s advice to avoid “cheap” to a community manager’s suggestion to choose descriptive words over “nice,” here are nine words these experts recommend steering clear of in your writing.
- Avoid “Cheap” in Business Writing
- Remove Unnecessary “Obviously”
- Eliminate Filler Word “That”
- Stop Overusing “Epic”
- Don’t Weaken Your Writing With “Very”
- Replace the Vague Word “Thing”
- Avoid “Just” for Stronger Authority
- Replace “Synergize” With Genuine Terms
- Choose Descriptive Words Over “Nice”
Avoid “Cheap” in Business Writing
“Cheap” is a word to avoid in business writing. First, this word is likely to trigger spam filters and ensure that emails go unread. Also, it has negative connotations of poor quality and feels like sales pressure.
More diplomatic synonyms include “inexpensive,” “budget-friendly,” or “cost-effective.” However, the better move is to, instead of mentioning the price, be solution-oriented and emphasize how the product or service will improve the prospects’ life or business.
Many consumers will invest in effective solutions, and you can actually attract a higher quality of clientele by stressing efficacy versus going for the bargain angle.
Remove Unnecessary “Obviously”
When you are writing, I would avoid using the word “obviously.”
If it was obvious, then you wouldn’t be writing about it.
And since you are writing about it, and the reader is here, then why are you spending your time on something so obvious?
It’s a silly word, and it doesn’t move things forward. Poor writers often use these words—like obviously—as placeholders in their content, and they don’t really mean anything. Avoid these words that you can use at the start of a sentence because they don’t really mean anything and mostly mean you have nothing of substance to say.
Eliminate Filler Word “That”
Good writing doesn’t always reflect the way we talk. One word I usually eliminate from my writing is the word “that.” For example, she told him he could get some ice cream.
In this example, we could remove “that” without affecting the sentence’s meaning.
It’s a filler word we think adds clarity and breaks up the sentence. But in writing, it makes the sentence clunky. Concise writing is more easily understood, not to mention appreciated by the reader.
Stop Overusing “Epic”
These days, “epic” is quite overused as an adjective. As cultural trends go, what started as run-of-the-mill hyperbole has turned into a word far too overused and divorced from its original meaning. Unless you’re discussing long-form ancient poems, “epic” is a word that should be avoided.
Don’t Weaken Your Writing With “Very”
Many writers make the mistake of thinking when they use the word “very,” they are intensifying an adjective, but they’re creating the opposite effect.
“Very” is a weak and colorless word that reduces the opportunity for a writer to create vivid and powerful communication. It can also make a writer look unprofessional, especially when they use the redundant phrase “very unique.”
This word can be off-putting to readers and detract from what a writer wants to convey.
Replace the Vague Word “Thing”
“Thing” is often a filler word and lacks much description to give the reader a good idea of what you are talking about. It is also a word that could mean any amount of items, which could also leave the reader confused. Instead of using this word, try words like item, object, tool, device, chore, or activity. These words are much more clear and descriptive and give the reader more to go off of.
Avoid “Just” for Stronger Authority
The word “just” is a subtle underminer of your writing authority. It makes statements appear less significant. For example, “I just think” seems less assertive than “I think”. Removing “just” from your sentences can strengthen your writing and be more confident. This minor change can drastically change the tone and influence of your writing, creating a more powerful narrative.
Replace “Synergize” With Genuine Terms
When buzzwords get overused, they lose all real meaning. “Synergize” is one such word. Avoid it. It often gets bandied about in corporate newsletters and emails, and people think they have to say it, especially in B2B settings. As a “staple” of business writing, it reeks of corporate jargon and sounds insincere. Write to real people using real words. “Collaborate” or “teamwork” will often do.
Choose Descriptive Words Over “Nice”
There’s nothing wrong with the word “nice” itself. However, you’d be better off looking for more specific, expressive, and descriptive alternatives to make your texts engaging and impactful.
“Nice” is a weak and vague descriptor. It’s a broad term that doesn’t offer much insight. Although it conveys a positive sentiment, it’s neither a great emotional nor a persuasive word. “Nice” also cannot provide valuable details that engage readers and create a more vivid picture in their minds.
When you use specific and descriptive language, it helps your writing come to life. It engages readers and stimulates their imagination. Overusing “nice” can make your text appear bland and uninteresting.
“Nice” is not the nicest word choice to impress the readers, let’s say.
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