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How to Take Out Excess Wording In Your Writing

By March 17, 2017April 22nd, 2017Article Writing, Editing Tips, Writing Process

Every writer, on every level, can learn to edit their work substantially with just a little work. Even taking the time to take out excess wording in your writing will allow readers better accessibility to your content.

Often, proofreading before you publish can make or break the success of what you are writing, and so looking over what you have done after the fact can help your reputation and put forth your best work as you envisioned it.

Common Unnecessary Wording

  • “That” – Often seen as a filler word, using the word “that” in your first draft can be acceptable, but it is important to try and edit it out as you review the content.

Example of a sentence where the word “that” is not necessary: She saw that he carried a vase with roses into the house.

  • “Was” – While the word “was” is good in some contexts, it is also possible to use it too frequently and dilute content again. First person narration in the past tense tends to have this problem.

Example of a sentence where editing out a form of “was” would benefit the content: We were going to visit her but went the following weekend instead.

  • “That was” – In combination, the phrase “that was” can be problematic and unneeded in writing. It’s also fairly passive and sets a “lazy” tone in third person narrative. It’s less of a problem for first person narration because it can help the narrator talk about something in the past, but in general, it’s better to avoid the phrase if possible.

Example: The lightbulb that was bright suddenly burned out.

Revisions of the above: The bright lightbulb suddenly burned out.

  • “To be” – In its many forms and tenses, using “be” in your writing dulls the content. While hiring an experienced content editor is an efficient way to improve your content, recognizing you might need to rewrite and take out “be” is a good step to stronger writing.

Example of a sentence where the “to be” phrase is not necessary: He is the first in his family to be admitted to college.

  • “Got” – Another filler word, “got” is okay when you begin writing a first draft, but often requires editing later. Words like “receive,” or “possess” may work instead, depending on the context.

Example of a sentence where “got” ought to go: I got to the project after lunch.

  • “Lots” – A common word writers struggle to remove, other applicable words like “many” or “numerous” may replace phrases where “lots” is initially used.

Example of a sentence where synonyms for “lots” might improve the content: They saw lots of fireworks during the 4th. of July celebration in the park.

While working with a reputable editor can enhance your content, taking steps to improve your writing will make the editing process easier prior to publishing and help you learn how to write better.


Contact an Experienced Content Editor

You have taken great pains to write well, but editing your own work remains a struggle. Taking appropriate steps to improve your writing, such as learning about what wording might appear excessive in your content, ensures you provide the best writing for your intended audience.

Professional content editor Megan Harris has extensive experience as a writer as well. This experience informs her philosophy about quality content, and so you can expect professional editing services when you work with Megan. For help editing your content, contact Megan today to discuss your project.