Field Guide to Concise Language

In the quest for clear writing, clunky phrases are like a field of poppies—slowing your readers down and putting them to sleep. Some of these phrases are redundant, some are jargony, and some are needlessly formal. To streamline your writing and enhance readability, prune these phrases ruthlessly.

12:00 noon
6-month period
a large proportion of
a number of
able to
absolutely essential
acquainted with
acted as
actual experience
adequate enough
adjacent to
advance planning
advance warning
added bonus
afford an opportunity
any and all
as a means of
at such time as
a majority of
are in possession of
as prescribed by
at this point in time
at your earliest convenience
basic fundamentals
be responsible for
best ever

noon
6 months
many
some, several
can
essential
know
was
experience
adequate
next to
planning
warning
bonus
allow, let
all
to
when
most
have
under
now, today
soon
basics, fundamentals
handle
best


brief summary
by means of
classify into groups
close proximity
consensus of opinion
consequently
current trends
despite the fact that
deteriorate in quality
due to the fact that
during the course of
during the time that
each and every
eliminate altogether
emergency situation
end result
estimated at about
exact same
failed to
final outcome
final conclusion
first and foremost
first of all
follow after
for a period of
for all intents and purposes

summary
by
classify
proximity
consensus
so
trends
although
deteriorate
because
during
while
each
eliminate
emergency
result
estimated at
same
didn’t
outcome
conclusion
first
first
follow
for


or the purpose of
forward initiative
functioned as
furthermore
future plans
give an affirmative answer to
has the function of being
have a need for
hold a meeting
if conditions are such that
in a timely manner
in accordance with
in addition
in an effort to
in conjunction with
in many cases
in order to
in regard to
in spite of the fact that
in the case of
in the course of
in the event that
in the nature of
in the near future
in the neighborhood of
in the vicinity of
in this day and age
in view of
in light of the fact that
inasmuch as
incumbent upon
is capable of
is deficient in
is in a position to
is of the opinion that
issue a reminder
it is essential
it is recommended
join together
it should be noted that

to
plan
was
then
plans
say yes to, agree to
is
need
meet
if
promptly
by, under
also
to
with
often
to
about
although
if
during, in
if
like
soon
about
near
today
because
because
because
must
can
lacks
can
believes
remind
must
we recommend
join
note


liaise with
limited number
make an announcement
make a statement
mission-critical
new innovation
no later than
on a [daily, weekly, monthly] basis
on a regular basis
past experience
past history
pertaining to
please be advised that
point in time
prior to
provides guidance for
provided that
reason for
reason is because
regular routine
responsible for managing
serious crisis
similar to
state of the art
strategic alliance
take action to
take into consideration
trained professional
until such time as
wide range of
with reference to
with the exception of

talk to
few
announce
say, state
critical
innovation
by
daily, weekly, monthly
regularly
experience
history
about
note
point
before
guides
if
why
reason is
routine
manages
crisis
like
latest, current
alliance
do
consider
professional
until
many
about, regarding
except for


Sources:
Einsohn, Amy. The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications. University of California Press, 2011. Garner, Bryan A. HBR Guide to Better Business Writing. Harvard Business Review Press, 2012. Stoughton, Mary. Substance & Style: Instruction and Practice in Copyediting. EEI Books, 1996. Lohfeld, Bob. “100 Words Never to Use in Proposals.” Lohfeld Consulting