Remember when “like” was popular at every-other-word intervals? Overuse of words is not exclusively verbal. It commonly affects the printed word. Whether you are writing a feature or technical article, make stories stronger by cutting unnecessary words. Here are examples of how a few unnecessary words can be removed from your writing.

Just

This word can be overused in several scenarios, even when sending emails.

  • “The Board of Trustees gave just enough time at the end of the meeting to answer members’ questions.”
  • Just give me a call.”
  • “You just set the panel near a continuous light source to charge.”

“Just” can make you sound desperate or demanding. Removing this word makes sentences stronger.

That

It may surprise you how often the word “that” is unnecessary. It often can be cut with no loss of meaning.

  • “The farmer proposed a design that he fine-tuned over 3 years.”
  • “David recalls a time that he scaled Beartooth Mountain.”
  • “He rode that horse.”

When “that” comes before a noun, it is usually a valid use of the word. When preceded by a noun, “that” most likely can be cut.

Type of

Types are important in utility news, but the phrase “type of” can be intuitive to the sentence when it is removed.

  • “The types of balloons were red, green, and blue.”
  • “The chair was an type of antique, from 18th century England.”

There are times when “type of” is necessary to complete a sentence, but in many cases, the sentence reads well without it.

Bringing it Home

Tightening sentences is the best way to properly convey your message, whether you are making an email request or writing a 4-page article about new energy technology.

Just the right type of insulation can create a better indoor environment that your family will appreciate.”

Sometimes our sentences need a lot of work. Recognizing unnecessary words improves your editing skills and results in stronger articles. Want more ways to make your writing stronger? Visit the Daily Writing Tips website and the Grammar Girl website.