Avoid Filler Words

Amateur writers often rely on a principle that doesn’t work: “The longer, the better.” No. You want strong, punchy sentences that move.

Give your readers’ brains something interesting to do. Put their neurons to work!

Here are some sentence pairs for you. Notice that the second version is always shorter…and stronger. You don’t need the filler words in red. Your readers’ brains will figure it out – honest!

I began to search my closet for the missing jacket.
I searched my closet for the missing jacket.  BETTER

Eventually I found it under a pile of sweaters on the floor.
I found it under a pile of sweaters on the floor. BETTER

Needless to say, JoAnn and I aren’t seeing each other any more.
JoAnn and I aren’t seeing each other any more.  BETTER

Mr. Brown asked for volunteers, whereupon Alan and I said we would be glad to help.
“Mr. Brown asked for volunteers. Alan and I said we would be glad to help.  BETTER

Subsequently we sold the car and bought a safer model.
We sold the car and bought a safer model.  BETTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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