Some words are merely filler.
Remember in school when assignments had minimum word counts? In order to hit some arbitrary number, sentences would be packed full of useless words until we reached our quota. As a result, your paper got longer, but not better.
In business, and especially marketing, that's the wrong approach. Especially in today's attention-deprived society.
Get. To. The. Point.
If you're writing about dogs, don't say “I always really loved dogs a lot,” if all you're trying to convey is “I love dogs.” Those flowery, “flabby” words are simply taking up space.
They're distracting and tedious to read.
Here's 7 “flabby” words that are worthless and don't belong in your writing:
“Really” clogs your content.
Think of it this way: If you’re saying something is “really” tall, you’re missing the mark. How tall is it? Quantify it.
If something has “really” improved, readers want to know how much. Qualify it.
While the purpose of “really” is to exaggerate something, readers respond better to text that gets more granular in its measurements. With that in mind, swap this vague term out for a more accurate descriptor. If you can’t be more descriptive, delete “really.”
2. A lot
“A lot” is similar to “really” in terms of vagueness and flab. Saying something is “a lot different than it used to be” robs your readers of an experience.
While they understand that something has changed, they don’t know what it was or how much it’s shifted. They want more specific information to make good decisions and to connect with your writing on a deeper level.
3. Always and never
These two aren’t flabby, but they are seldom true. If you say, “Marketers never consider their clients,” you’re horribly off base. Applying an all-inclusive adjective paints with too broad a brush on the topic and is reckless.
Instead, opt for “few” or “rare” if you need to quantify but don’t have the numbers. The same thing applies for “always.” Instead opt for words like “most” or “many.”
Stuff is a downright unprofessional term that harms your content. It is not descriptive or specific.
Instead define what that “stuff” is.
Consider these two headlines: “Stuff You Should Do for a More Successful Blog” or “5 Writing Tricks for a More Successful Blog.” The second headline is specific and clearly states what the article is about, which is more helpful to your readers.
The only time “just” has a place in your content is when you’re talking about something being just as in “fair.” For example, “The trial was just.”
Uses of “just” to imply something is small or inefficient (e.g., “She just couldn’t do it”) don’t add anything to the sentence. In most cases, you can remove the word “just” without affecting the sentence’s meaning.
“That” may seem like an inoffensive word, but it’s usually not necessary. For example, “It’s the most delicious cake that I’ve eaten” could just as easily be “It’s the most delicious cake I’ve eaten.” Remove this flabby word for more streamlined content.
“Then” makes your writing stammer, which is the opposite of what you want for professionally created content. To smooth your text, remove the word “then” whenever the sentence still makes sense without it. And don’t start sentences with “then” because it makes the sentences sound clunky and can make them difficult to read.
You can read 8 more examples of worthless words at Content Marketing Institute.
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