November 3, 2015                                                                                                                                                                                  

G. Kim Blank's

Wordiness, Wordiness, Wordiness List

"Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief."

—Shakespeare (Hamlet, act 2, scene ii, lines 96-98)



The world has only so much space—even the world of rhetoric. When you write, your job is to use that space carefully. Some quick tips: find the right word and use it; when in doubt, cut it out; edit your work like it was written by someone you don’t like; use an active rather than passive voice. The general principle is simple: if you’ve heard a phrase more than a couple of times, and it isn’t key wording, essential in carrying meaning, or definitive in some way, get rid of it.

You can get a good start by trying to avoid the following:

You can also try to dump what I call "wazzle" (waffling and fuzzy) words, like "absolutely," "actually," "aspects," “basically," "definitely," "entirely," "extremely,""literally," "overall," "perfectly,"  "quite," "really," "situation," "truly," "ultimately," "virtually," and "very." "Could," "should," and "would" are also sometimes wazzlers.

Watch out, too, for overuse of "therefore," "indeed," "thus," "however," "moreover," "consequently," "over all," "nevertheless," "furthermore," and "hence." Save them for important turns or moments in your writing. When overused, they lose impact.

Here's an analogy. Think of your writing in the same way you think about all the stuff you own. Now think of having a yard sale. What you put into your yard sale are the useless things that have been taking up space and that you have been stumbling over. At first you feel a little remorse in seeing it all go, but then, with your new, uncluttered world, you feel clean and nimble. And to complete the analogy: if no one buys your yard sale stuff, you take it to the dump.

Before you go through the list, here is a challenge to put you in an anti-periphrastic mood. See how much of the following sentence, all forty-six words of it, that you can cut:

Due to the fact that access to internet resources are actually at the present time very easy to access in many places, the vast majority of users seek to have those kinds of devices that are most easy to carry around with them wherever they go.


How many? To check how it can be reduced to twelve words, go to the end of the list.


absolutely essential = essential         Water is absolutely essential.

above all else = DELETE       Above all else, fetching water is dangerous.

aforementioned = DELETE

a bigger/greater/higher/larger degree of = more

a considerable amount of = DELETE OR BE SPECIFIC

a decreased number of = fewer

a distance of 28 kilometers = 28 kilometers        The well was [a distance of] 28 kilometers away.

a lesser/smaller degree of = less/fewer    

a lot of = many, much      

a majority of = most, much of, many

a person who is xxx = a xxx person      A hill climber who is dedicated will succeed = A dedicated hill climber will succeed.

a total of seven xxxs = seven xxxs

added bonus = bonus

advance notice/reservations = notice/reservations

advance warning = warning

advance planning = planning

after all is/was said and done = DELETE     After all was said and done, the trip to the well was a disaster.

alike share = share       They alike share responsibility = They share responsibilily

all across = across

all of = all

all of a sudden = suddenly     All of a sudden, Jack fell down and broke his crown = Jack suddenly fell down and broke his crown.

all of these = these

all-time record = record

all said = delete            All said, Jack and Jill had a bad day.          

almost never = seldom   

along the lines of = like        Characters [along the lines of] [like] Humpty Dumpty were jealous of Jack and Jill.

any and all = all 

appears on the surface to be = is OR appears to be     This appears on the surface to be a serious accident.   

are/is such that = DELETE    Jack and Jill are such that they are doomed to perish.

are/was/were able to = can OR DELETE

armed gunman = gunman

assemble/attach together = assemble/attach

as a matter of fact = in fact OR DELETE

as a means to = to              As a means to get the water, Jack and Jill used a pail.  

as a result of = because of

as a whole = DELETE

as a way to = to

as being a = is a/was a OR DELETE      Please note this as being an accident = Please note this was an accident.

as it truly is = DELETE

as of the moment = DELETE

as the case may be = DELETE

at a later date = later

at the conclusion of = after      

at all times = always OR DELETE      At all times, watch out for uncovered wells.

at first glance = DELETE

at the earliest possible date = soon OR as soon as possible

at the present time = currently, now

at the same time that = while

at this point in time = now OR DELETE      At this point in time, they are presumed drowned.

autobiography of his [or her] life = autobiography


bald-headed = bald

based in large part on = based on

based on the fact that = since/because      

basic necessity = necessity

basic fundamentals = basics OR fundamentals

because of the fact of = because of

begin to notice = notice        Once we begin to notice the pattern . . . .

being = DELETE     Because of the well being deep, . . . = Because the well was deep, . . .   

being that = because

best ever = best

beyond a shadow of a doubt = DELETE

blend together = blend

both of these/them/the = both      

brings to mind = recalls/suggests    This story brings to mind recalls the Pussy-in-the-well incident, involving Little Johnny Flynn.

brief moment/summary = moment/summary

but yet = but OR yet

burning embers = embers

by and large = DELETE

by definition = DELETE     Jack's actions are, by definition, unthinking.

by leaps and bounds = DELETE

by means of = by

by the same token = DELETE OR similarly/likewise

by the use of = using

by virtue of [the fact that] = by


came to a realization = realized/recognized

came to an abrupt end = end[ed] abruptly

careful scrutiny = scrutiny

carefully calculated = caculated      They carefully calculated the number of steps up the hill.

can be seen as = is OR DELETE

classify into groups = classify      

clearly articulate = articulate         Jack and Jill could not clearly articuate reasons for their downfall.

close scrutiny = scrutiny

close down [up] = close

closely related to one another = closely related                 Jack and Jill are closely related to one another.

collaborate together = collaborate

combine together = combine      When you combine together thirst and clumsiness, you get Jack and Jill.

come to the understanding = understand

common similarities = similarities

comparatively larger/smaller than = larger than/smaller than

compare and contrast = compare                     

complete with each other = compete

complete stranger = stranger

completely eliminate/destroy/annihilate [etc]= eliminate

completely filled/finished = filled/finished

completely separate = separate

concerning the matter of = about/regarding

conduct an investigation into = investigate   We will conduct an investigat[e]ation into the disappearance of Jack and Jill.

connect[ed] together = connect[ed]

continue into the future = continue OR DELETE    

continue on = continue

consensus of opinion = consensus

considered to be = DELETE     The well was considered to be deep.

core essence = DELETE

correctional facility = jail

crisis situation = crisis


dates back to = dates to

depreciate in value = depreciate

derived great pleasure from = enjoyed, appreciated, etc.

despite the fact that = although

did not succeed = failed      Jack and Jill did not succeed = Jack and Jill failed.

disappear from sight = disappear

doomed to perish = doomed

due diligence = DELETE [except when used in a purely legal sense]

due to the effects = because

due to the fact that = because

dull in appearance = dull

during the course of = during, while



each and every [one] = each, every

each individual = DELETE OR everyone

each of = each

early on in the = early in the

each separate incident = each incident

economically deprived = poor 

eliminate altogether = eliminate

emergency situation = emergency        The accident at the well was an emergency situation.

enclosed herewith = enclosed

end result = result

engaged in = DELETE

enter into = enter OR DELETE

epic quest = quest OR epic         They were taking part in a{n} epic quest to fetch a pail of water.

equal to one [each] another = equal

equally as good = equally good OR equal

erode away = erode

every single one = each one, all, each

exactly identical = identical

exactly the same = the same     For Jack, every well was exactly the same.


fair amount = DELETE [or be specific]

fall down = fall

famous celebrity = famous OR celebrity.              Jill became a famous celebrity.

few and far between = rare, unusual OR DELETE

few in number = few

filled to [full to] capacity = filled [full]

final demise/destination/outcome = final OR DELETE

first priority = priority

first and foremost = first OR DELETE       First and foremost, we need to find the cause of the accident.

fly through the air = fly

foreign imports = imports

for all intents and purposes = DELETE

for that which is = for the

for the manner in which = because OR the way      Then got in trouble for the manner in which [because] they were careless.

for the purpose of = to, for

foreseeable future = [when exactly?]

free gift = gift

frozen ice = ice

future plans/prospects = plans OR prospects



gain entry into = enter

gather together = gather

general consensus = consensus

general public = public

give an indication of = indicate    We need to give an indication of our intentions = We need to indicate our intentions.

give consideration to = consider

grave crisis = crisis

grow in size = grow


hand-in-hand = together

has the ability to = can

has/had/have a tendency to = often OR DELETE

has/had/have been found to be = is/was/are       Jill is has been found to be up the hill.

has/had/have the ability to/capacity for = can/could

has/had/have the effect of = DELETE

has/had/have the opportunity to = can/could

has had an effect upon = influenced

hear the sound of = hear the     I hear the sound of twelve drummers.

heat up = heat



I might add that = DELETE

I myself = I

[in a] clear and concise way = [concisely] concise

in a situation in which = in     If you [find] yourself in a situation in which [you have] fall[en] into a well . . .

in a very real sense = DELETE

in a way that is clear = clearly OR clear way   Say it in a way that is clear = Say it clearly.

in actuality = DELETE

in all likelihood/probability = likely/probably    In all likelihood, they [probably] did not survive the fall.

in close proximity = near

in connection with = about      

in essence = DELETE

in excess of = more than

in light of the fact that = because      In light of the fact that  [Because] hills are steep, people fall down them.

in keeping with = AVOID

in itself = DELETE

in nature = DELETE

in order to = to

in order to make her argument stronger = to strenghen her argument

in reality = DELETE        In reality, Jack and Jill are not usually so clumy.

in reference to = about/regarding

in the event that = if

in the neighborhood of = about

in the vicinity of = near

in today's society = today            

in spite of = despite

in spite of the fact that = although

in such a way = in a way

in terms of = DELETE

in the area of = in OR around    It happened in the area of Dallas.

in the course of = during, while

in the event that = if

in the final analysis = finally OR DELETE

in the light of = considering OR DELETE

in the majority of instances = usually    In the majority of instances, fetching water is usually safe.

in the midst of = during, amid

in the nature of = DELETE

in the near future = soon OR DELETE

in the not too distant future = soon OR DELETE

in the vicinity of = near

in their own right = DELETE

in this day and age = currently, now, today

in today's society = today

in view of the fact that = because

in which = DELETE   Here is the book in which you will find it = You will find it in this book.

inadvertent error = error

inner feelings = feelings

integrate/join together = integrate/join

interestingly enough = DELETE

intertwine[d] together = intertwine[d]

invisible to see = invisible

irregardless = DELETE

is a reflection of = reflects     His clumsiness is a reflection of reflects his impatience.

is able to = can OR DELETE

is an important factor in = DELETE     Fear is an important factor in motivation = Fear motivates.

is aware of the fact that = knows   

is described as being = is OR is described as

is effective in its ability = is effective    The pail is effective in its ability to carry water = The pail effectively carries water.

is found to be = is

is going to = will

is helpful in understanding = clarifies

is in conflict with = conflicts with/is against

is in contrast to = contrasts with       

is of significant importance = is significant OR is important

is scared of = fears

is seen as = is

is something that is = is    Honesty is something that is the best policy.

is well aware that = understands

is when = is OR DELETE

is where = DELETE

is/was more or less = is/was

it appears/seems as though = it appears OR DELETE

it can be seen that = DELETE          It can be seen that Jill fell down.

it could happen that = could/may/might

it goes to show that = DELETE

it is/was = DELETE        It is this ability to have well-ryhmed accidents that made them famous.

it is clear/evident/apparent that = DELETE

it is crucial/important that = must/should OR DELETE

it is interesting/important to note that = DELETE    

it is necessary that = must/should OR DELETE

it is only a matter of time before = DELETE OR eventually

it is possible that = DELETE

it is rarely the case that [X] happens =  [X] rarely happens

it is seen being used in = is used in     Money is seen being used in settling lawsuits OR Money can settle lawsuits.

it seems at first glance = initially   It seems at first glace

it should be noted/pointed out that = DELETE OR note that

it would seem [appear] that = DELETE

itself = DELETE



join/gather together = join/gather

joint collaboration = collaboration

joyous celebration = celebration


kind of = DELETE

kneel down = kneel


lag behind = lag

large [small] in size = large [small]      The well was large in size.

last but not least = finally

lasting legacy = legacy            Jack and Jill have left a lasting legacy for the nursery rhyme business.

later on = later

lift up = lift

local residents = residents

longer/shorter in length = longer/shorter

look ahead to the future = look ahead. plan OR DELETE


made out of = made from, made of

mainly focuses on = focuses on

major breakthrough = breakthrough   

make a decision = decide

make a determination = decide

make an assumption = assume

made [make] an effort = tried [try]      Jack needs to make an effort = Jack needs to try.

make contact with = contact

make/made reference to = refer to

manner in which = way

many different kinds of = many kinds of

many different ways = many ways

meet together = meet      

mental attitude = attitude

merge together = merge

mix together = mix

more or less = DELETE [OR be specific]   

more preferable = preferable

most likely = likely                     Jack and Jill will most likely fall down the hill.

mutual agreement = agreement

mutual respect for each other/one another = mutual respect



nape of the neck = nape

native habitat = habitat

natural instinct = instinct   

necessary prerequisite = prerequisite

never before = never

new invention/innovation = invention/innovation

new record = record [as in SET A NEW RECORD]

new recruit = recruit

no one but = only        No one but [Only] Jack could fall down the hill so easily.

nod[ded] his head = nod[ded]      Jill told Jack to nod his head.

none at all = none

nostalgia for the past = nostalgia

not the least of them being = AVOID


of great importance = DELETE OR is important

off of = off OR from

old adage/custom = custom/adage

on a daily basis = daily       Jack and Jilly climbed the hill on a daily basis = Jack and Jill climbed the hill daily.

on account of the fact that = because

on the basis of = because, based on

on the grounds that = because

on the occasion of = on/preparing for    On the occasion of Preparing for their adventure, they packed rope.

on the situation of = about

on the subject of = about OR DELETE

on the surface level = on the surface

on the whole = DELETE       On the whole, Jack and Jill were inexperienced climbers.

on top of all this = moreover OR DELETE

one of the more = DELETE

one of the most interesting = DELETE

only serves to = DELETE

open up = open

over and over again = repeatedly

over exaggerate = exaggerate

over the course of = during OR in OR while              [Over the course of their] [While] hill climbing, something went wrong.

overall goal = goal

overall structure = structure

overexaggerate = exaggerate

owing to the fact that = because


particular type of = DELETE

past experience = experience

past history = history

past memories = memories

paved the way = DELETE       

pay you the amount of $2,000 = pay you $2,000

penetrate into = penetrate

period of time = period, time, OR DELETE

perhaps this may be = this may be OR perhaps this is

personal friend = friend      

personal opinion = opinion

personally, I feel/think/believe = I feel/think/believe    Personally, [I think] the hill is too steep.

pick and choose = pick OR choose

plan ahead/in advance= plan

play[s] an important role = DELETE [be specific]

pointing the finger = blame   Pointing the finger at [Blaming] Jack did not help.

polar opposites = opposites

possible courses of action = choices     They had two possible courses of action = They had two choices.

previous/prior to = before

proceed ahead = proceed

prior to = before

protest against = protest         

providing that = provided

put to use = use

puzzling in nature = puzzling



quite clearly = DELETE


readily apparent = apparent

real truth/life = truth/life

reconsider again = reconsider

refer/reflect/reply back = refer/reflect/reply

regardless of the fact that = although

repeat[ed] [over and over] again = repeat[ed]

respective/respectively = DELETE

right up to the = up to the OR to the   Jack went right [up] to the well and fell in.

rise up = rise

round [square,rectangular] in shape = round [square, rectangular]


safe haven = haven

says exactly the same thing = repeats

scrutinize carefully = scrutinize    

seems to infer = infers

seek/prefer to have = seek/prefer

serious danger = danger

serve the purpose of = DELETE

serves to explain/show = explain/show

set a new record = set a record      Jack set a new record for falling into wells.

shout loudly = shout

shrugged her shoulders = shrugged

similar to = like                          Jack and Jill are, in their falling-down way, similar to like Humpty Dumpty.

small in size = small

so much so = DELETE and be exact

some kind of = DELETE

somewhere in the neighborhood of = about    Jack weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of about 170 pounds.

sort of = DELETE

spell out in detail = spell out OR DELETE

start to gain some momentum = gain some momentum   As they begin to fall down the hill, they will start to gain some momentum.

state of affairs = DELETE [vague]     Their accident was a terrible state of affairs.

still has yet = has yet

study in depth = study

subsequent to = after

subsequent to the use of = after using

sudden impulse = impulse

sum total = total OR sum

summarize briefly = summarize

surrounded on all sides = surrounded

sworn affidavit = affidavit

symbolically represents = represents OR symbolizes



take action = act

take into account = consider

taken the time = DELETE   If Jack would have taken the time to think about it, . . . = Had Jack thought about it, . . .

tall in height = tall

terrible/horrible tragedy = tragedy

that/this being said = DELETE

that exists = DELETE

that exists between/with/among = between/with/among

that is/are/were = DELETE when possible

that is to say = DELETE

the colour green = green

the complete opposite of = the opposite of      Jack is the complete opposite of Jill.

the end OR final result = the result

the extent to which = DELETE             The extent to which Jack was injured was clear = Jack was severely injured.

the human race = humans OR humanity OR people

the fact that = that OR DELETE

the fact remains = DELETE      

the final conclusion = the conclusion

the majority of = most/many

the manner/means by which = how

the month of September = September

The nature of the [NOUN] = The [NOUN]       

the overall plan = the plan

the possibility exists for = may/might/could      The possibility exists for no rainIt might not rain.

The purpose of the XXXX is to illustrate/show/demonstrate = XXXX illustrates/shows/demonstrates

the reason is because = the reason/because

the reason why [is that] = the reason, why, because

the role reversal between the two = the role reversal   In watching Jack and Jill, we see the role reversal between the two.

the type OR use of = DELETE

there is a tendency = DELETE OR BE SPECIFIC

there is/are/was/were = DELETE

This is a way to get . . .  = This gets . . .

total destruction = destruction

to a certain extent = DELETE OR BE SPECIFIC

to be = DELETE      The well was considered to be deep.

to be in a position to = to

to make a plan/decision = to plan/decide

to make an acquisition = to acquire

to make an arrangement = to arrange

true fact = fact

two p.m. in the afternoon = two p.m.

two a.m. in the morning = two a.m.


ultimate fate = fate

ultimate objective/goal/aim = objective OR goal OR aim

unexpected emergency = emergency

unexpected surprise = surprise

unintentional mistake = mistake

unique in his own way = DELETE     Jack was unique in his own way.

united as one = united

until such time as = until

upon first glance = DELETE          Upon first glance, they seemed like a nice couple.

useless in function = useless

utmost perfection = perfection


vacillate back and forth = vacillate

valuable asset = asset

various different = various

very unique = unique

violent explosion = explosion

virtually = DELETE

visible to the eye = visible



warn in advance = warn

we are of the opinion that = we believe

we as a society = we OR society

We can see that = AVOID

we were found to be in agreement = we agreed

well aware of = aware

were in attendance = attended

what is important is = DELETE

when all is said and done = DELETE     When all is said and done, Jack and Jill tumbled down the well.

whether or not = whether/if OR DELETE

which have been found to be = are OR DELETE

which is/are/were = DELETE WHEN POSSIBLE

will come in the future = will come

will have an effect on = will effect

with the possible exception of = except for OR unlike With the possible exception of[Unlike] Jack and Jill, most people are careful around wells.

who are/was/were = DELETE

why it functions the way it does = how it functions

with regard to = about/regarding

with this is mind = DELETE          

witnessed first hand = witnessed



young in age = young


Due to the fact that access to internet resources are actually at the present time very easy to access in many places, the vast majority of users seek to have those kinds of devices that are most easy to carry around with them wherever they go. = Because the Internet is available most places, users often prefer portable devices.

That's twelve words in place of forty-six. Easy peasy.