Wordy phrases

If you want to make your writing more concise, watch out for the wordy phrases listed below. Each usually bears replacement with a shorter alternative. This list is new and obviously far from complete, so please comment if you have any to add.



As of late: lately.

As perjust per.


Basis (e.g., on a daily basis, on a regular basis)just daily, regularly, etc.

(In) between: Between often works in place of in between.



Do damage to: just damage.

Do harm to: just harm.

During the course of: wordy for during.



First and foremost: One or the other usually would suffice.

For the duration of: wordy for duringthroughfor, or throughout.

For the purpose(s) ofwordy for to or for.




In excess ofmore thanover, or exceeding.

(To be) in need of: need or a one-word synonym.

In order to: often bears replacement with to.

In terms ofoften wordy for in or for.

In the affirmative: just yes. 

In the course of: Try duringinover, or while. But it’s not wordy when course is meaningful.

In the midst of: Try amid, amidst, among, during, or in.

In the negative: just no.

In the process ofoften can be removed outright.






Make an effort: try.

(The) majority of: most.

Manner, e.g. in a prompt mannerin a positive manner: Where possible, replace with a one-word adverb—e.g., in a prompt manner becomes promptlyin a positive manner becomes positively.

(A) myriad of: just myriad.



Of late: lately.

Off of: When off is a preposition, of adds nothing and could be removed.

Outside of: Of is unnecessary when outside is a preposition.

Overly: The prefix over- is useful. Attach it to the word overly modifies (no hyphen required)—for example, overly aggressive becomes overaggressiveoverly careful becomes overcareful.


Point in time: usually replaceable with point or time.

Previous tobefore.

Prior tobefore. 




Sooner rather than later: There are several equally emphatic but less clunky alternatives, such as very soonas soon as possible, and in the near future. 


Take into consideration: consider.

That which: Where that which has no antecedent, it can be shortened to what.




With the exception of: except.





  1. In the negative: Just say no.

  2. MarilynDHunter says

    I sho done bin gone got the blues – I’m blue.

    • Ghostrider939 says

      ‘I’m feeling blue’ takes away the supposition that you may be a little blue alien from (insert preference)

  3. Good effort

  4. carry on……..

  5. What about as of yet or asyet? Very common in England, esp. on the news

  6. “At this point in time.”
    What’s wrong with just using “now?”

  7. Is there any alternative of “the need of hour?”

  8. One phrase that always makes me shudder is “in this day and age,” when “Today” works perfectly.

    • Jack Nissenson says

      Sorry but they don’t mean the same thing at all. Think it over and try to resist the temptation to show off. “Nowadays would have been a better substitute.

  9. Another is the phrase ‘if and when’…

  10. How about including “close proximity” as a redundancy that should be replaced by nearby or proximate

  11. Audrey Rubinstein says

    “Quite frankly” used more in speech. How about, “frankly”

  12. Jack Nissenson says

    Whoever wrote up the wordy phrases section has no sense of style; “point in time” would be one example.

  13. Luke Pasquazzi says

    “In regards to” could be just “regarding”

  14. The Boozerator says

    I think “off of” comes into Enflish phonetically. For example, saying “Get off me!” forces an uncommon triple stress, whereas “Get off of me!” employs a more familiar pair of iambs.

  15. “Because of the fact that” => Because
    “Due to the fact that” => Because
    “In view of the fact that” => Because

  16. Gyan Moorthy says

    I disagree with the placement of “prior to” on this list. Prior is almost exclusively used with a preposition, and to remove it (and thus prior) would herald the death of the word :(

  17. Jesse Baker says

    “15 miles as the crow flies,” seen in older literature to describe how distance should be measured: Modern style favors “15 miles directly.”

  18. Chris Porter says

    I think the various forms of “locate” are overused. We located=we found. Located behind the building=behind the building. Located in=in. At this location=here. There are many others if you look.

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