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More useless words to avoid

Here are some words that I delete almost every time I encounter them:

  • Extensive
  • Efficient
  • Effective
  • Relevant
  • As appropriate
  • Recognized
  • Wide (as in “a wide variety”)
  • Very
  • Significant
  • Actual

Why do I delete them? They add no meaning.

What’s the difference between saying, “Bill has extensive experience improving systems design” and “Bill has improved systems designs?”

Two extra words, which make the sentence less punchy.

Like the other words on the list, “extensive experience” is so ambiguous that it’s meaningless. Similarly, what’s the difference between “a recognized leader” and “a leader?” “Actual results” and “results?” “A very active trading day” and “an active trading day?”

Nothing, nothing, and nothing.

If you have a problem using extraneous words, contemplate the opposite: if you hanker to write that you have “relevant skills,” think if anyone would ever say his or her skills were “irrelevant.”

Your audience is busy; don’t subject it to words it doesn’t need.

For more information about words to avoid, read my post “We would like to thank…

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