65 Weak and Redundant Words To Avoid in Your Writing

Are you trying to hit a word count in your post? Or do you want to sound intelligent in your prose? Whatever your goal is, filler words are not the solution as they only lead to weak writing. 

Remember these 65 words to avoid in an essay for engaging content and more interested readers!

What is Superfluous Writing?

Superfluous writing may include redundant phrases or tautologies. They can also be filler words that do not contribute meaning to the sentence. Writers and speakers recommend removing them because you will look uncertain of what you’re saying.

Whether you’re making a blog post, doing business writing, or trying effective email writing, your key message needs to demonstrate brevity and clarity. Superfluous words make it difficult for your audience to understand what you’re saying.

What are Unnecessary Words Examples?

Some unnecessary words to remove from your writing include in order to, really, a lot, moreover, always, stuff, etc. These fluffs will bore your readers and make your ideas more ambiguous.

Weak email writing differs from poor blog content, and I have a separate helpful list of email words to avoid. These words and phrases will result in an ineffective emails list:

  • 100% more.
  • Best price.
  • Extra cash.
  • Free access.
  • Giveaway.
  • Guaranteed. 
  • Prize.
  • Promises.
  • Risk-Free.

How to Reduce Filler Words in Writing

There’s nothing wrong with filler words if you use them sparingly. But too much will make you less credible and your writing weaker. Here are some writing tips that will clean your content.

1. Cut Out Excessive Words

Many amateur writers struggling to reach the word count resort to common wordy sentences like “a large number of” or “if this is not the case”. These terms only make your sentences less substantial.

  • At the present time = now
  • Along the lines of = like
  • At all times = always
  • It’s probably that = probably
  • Due to the fact that = because
  • In light of the fact that = because
  • In the near future = soon
  • With the exception of = except

2. Remove Words That are Hard to Misunderstand

Some words are challenging to understand or easily mistaken as passive-aggressive. These include, as discussed, just a friendly reminder, and actually. 

3. Choose the Word with the Closest Meaning 

English words have denotative and connotative definitions. Denotative meaning is the dictionary definition, while connotative meaning is the implication or emotional impact. For example, instead of saying thin and slender, choose one word with the closest connotation.

But… Every Rule Has Its Exceptions

Are there instances when filler words become essential to keep your message on track? Probably. 

Moreover, furthermore, and additionally are not recommended because they only serve as clutter to your writing as they also add more commas. If you need to compress your explanation, these transitional words are acceptable. You can also use them when going into a flashback.

Another word you should avoid is just. However, if you need to emphasize the time, as in a short time ago, you get a free pass. 

Redundant Words to Cut from Your Content

Here are some examples of words to avoid in an essay to make revising more convenient. 

1. Accell

The dictionary does not recognize the word accell or accel, which means to speed up. Use accelerate, advance, ease, or speed up instead.

2. Administrate

Administrate is a less common term for administer, which means to manage for the running of (a business, organization, etc.). Try the words manage, control, regulate, or direct instead.

3. Argumentative

Argumentative can be an adjective for expressive of divergent views. It can also be characterized by systemative reasoning. If you want to describe someone who always wants to argue, use quarrelsome or bickering.

4. Boughten

Boughten comes from the word bought and the suffix –en, like hidden. Instead of saying something is store-boughten, you can say it’s store-bought. 

5. Bursted

Bursted is an ancient past form of the verb burst. Many English speakers now use burst in its inflected form in simple past and past participle.

6. Conversate

Conversate is a correct word, but it’s often regarded as informal in American English. A good alternative would be the original verb converse. 

7. Doubtlessly

Doubtless is already an adverb even without the suffix -ly since it means without a doubt. You may say, “Doubtless, all of you will graduate this term,” or you can remove it. 

8. Fastly

Like doubtless, fast is already an adverb without the suffix -ly. Try quickly or swiftly if the phrase “running fast” feels wrong.

9. Grinded

Ground is the correct past form of the verb grind, which means to reduce to small particles through crushing. Some informal meanings of the word include to rotate the hips or to work hard. Some consider grinded acceptable in these contexts.

10. Humorousness

Some adjectives turn into nouns with a –ness in the end, like goodness, loveliness, and roughness. Humorousness is not one of them because its root word, humor, is already a noun.

11. Ironical

Shorten the adjective ironical into ironic when something is characterized by irony.

12. Irregardless

Irregardless is only acceptable in informal settings. Use regardless instead. 

13. Longevity

Longevity has the same meaning as length. It’s also easier to understand for some of your readers. 

14. Midrift

Midrift is a misspelling of midriff, a noun referring to the middle part of the body. It’s the portion between the waist and the bust.

15. Oftentimes

Use often instead of oftentimes to refer to the adverb in many instances. It’s also recommended to avoid this word when it’s not needed.

16. Orientate

As with conversate, you can say orient. The verb means to guide in a specific direction.

17. Ridded

Ridded is a superfluous word since rid is uninflected in its past tense form. When you rid a person of something, you make them free of something.

18. Righten

Right is already a verb, so righten is superfluous. Its meaning is to restore to original condition.

19. Seldomly

People mistakenly add -ly to the adverb seldom. Stick to the standard English adverb seldom for correctness. 

20. Some Way

Some way or someway are colloquial synonyms of somehow. Use the formal term for your content. 

21. Supposably

Supposably is a word from the adjective supposable. Use supposedly to mean as may be imagined.

22. Thusly

Thus is the correct word instead of thusly. But you should avoid using this transition word, along with in short, in conclusion, and in brief when unnecessary.

23. Undoubtably

The adverbs undoubtedly or doubtless are the correct terms instead of undoubtably. However, it would help to avoid these altogether because they don’t add meaning to the sentence. Use action verbs to show the feelings instead.

24. Literally

Answer these questions before putting literally in your sentence: Is it actually literal? Do you need to emphasize that it is literal?

25. Be-Verbs

Was, were, is, are, and other helping verbs may bore readers. Mixing them with -ing verbs also makes a terrible verb combination. For example, rather than saying, “she was hiding,” say, “she hid.”

26. Really and Very

Your sentence will have the same meaning without these adverbs. If you want to accentuate the power of an adjective, use a better word. For example, instead of saying very good, try excellent.

27. Thing and Stuff

Thing and stuff are vague and unimaginable to readers. Replace them with whatever you’re discussing. 

28. Then and Next

You can remove these transitional devices without consequences and structure your sentence better.

29. (Anonymous) Stranger

A stranger is already anonymous. There’s no need to form this noun phrase.

30. (Global) Pandemic

The word pandemic describes a disease that is prevalent worldwide compared to an epidemic that only covers a specific region or location.

31. ATM (Machine)

The letter M in ATM already stands for machine. Use ATM on its own or the entire word, automated teller machine.

32. Collaborate (Together)

The verb collaborate already implies togetherness since there is no way to collaborate if you’re on your own.

33. Compete (With Each Other)

The verb means to strive for something through establishing superiority over another person.

34. (Current) Trend

Trend itself already means the current course or tendency. 

35. (Different) Kinds

The plural of kind implies the presence of diversity or variety.

36. Each (and Every)

Make your writing less repetitive by using only the word each, synonymous with every.

37. (Empty) Space

Space already means an unoccupied area, so it’s given that it’s empty.

38. Few (In Number)

Few means a small number, so you don’t need to add the modifier in number.

39. First (and Foremost)

You can only say first or foremost. Both words mean the same and do not require to be together.

40. (Foreign) Imports

Imports already come from a foreign country, so adding foreign before it is unnecessary.

41. (Free) Gift

A gift is already free. There’s no such thing as a paid gift.

42. (General) Public

Saying general public is unnecessary because public means ordinary people in general.

43. Was of the Opinion That

Transform this lengthy phrase into thought. If the group of words starts with is, say think instead.

44. Put in Appearance

Put in appearance also means appear or appeared. Using this verb will help you practice conciseness in your writing.

45. At This Moment in Time

You can only say at the moment or now.

46. In the Absence Of

Replace this phrase with without. You can also say with instead of in the presence of.

47. By virtue of the Fact That

Shorten this six-worded phrase by swapping it for the conjunction because.

48. A Large Proportion of

Remove this phrase from your content and use many instead.

49. Leaves Much to be Desired

Leaves much to be desired sounds more pleasant, but the number of words is not worth it. Try poor instead.

50. On Account of the Fact That

On account of the fact that also means because. It’s similar to wordy phrases like by virtue of the fact that and due to the fact that.

51. In Case 

In case may sound more formal, but if is better. 

52. In the Event That

Like in case, in the event that is too long. Switch to if. 

53. In Order To

Using in order to a few times in your writing is seen as a poor writing style. Use to to make your statement clearer.

54. Believe and Think

These words imply doubt or uncertainty, which looks bad for your copywriting. Avoid starting your sentences with I think and I believe.

55. Just

Only use just when you mean fair. Otherwise, you’re not adding anything meaningful to your sentence.

56. Completely and Entirely

Removing these adverbs from your sentences will not affect their meaning. Try being more descriptive. For example, “the bag was filled with sand” sounds better than “the bag was filled entirely.”

57. That

That is not necessary in sentences like “These shoes are the best ones that I own.” Remove the word for more streamlined content.

58. Then

Removing then from your content will make your content smoother and easier to read.

59. Virtually

Virtually is defined as nearly or almost. Never include it in your writing unless you’re talking about working remotely.

60. So

So is another word that doesn’t help. You can eliminate it without affecting your point in the statement.

61. Got

Got isn’t a colorful word because it doesn’t describe how something is gotten. Did they obtain it? Earned it?

62. The Thing Is

The thing is will make your sentence weaker. Remove this unnecessary phrase without harming your sentence. 

63. Anyway

Anyway isn’t the best introductory word to a new topic in your essay. Even conversational blog posts should not have this word.

64. Kind of or Sort of

These fluff phrases make you look unsure of your content. It also doesn’t help in describing.

65. When it Comes to

This phrase may be correct at times, but there might be opportunities when you can shorten your sentence. For example, instead of saying, “When it comes to mobile phone brands, Apple is the best,” you can say, “iPhone is the best mobile phone brand.”

Practice Compelling Content Writing

You already know which words to avoid in an essay, including tautologies and superfluous phrases. Some examples to remember include anyway, on account of the fact that, the thing is, general public, and orientate.

Aim to replace or eliminate filler words from your writing to have the clearest, most understandable prose. 

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