31 Words and Phrases You No Longer Need in 2017

31 Words and Phrases You No Longer Need in 2017

Close your eyes. Imagine words as people in an office setting. The verbs scurry about, active and animated, getting things done. The adjectives and adverbs conjure ideas and images in the marketing department. But there’s always that one guy. See him? He’s over by the water cooler, leaning against the wall. He’s omnipresent, and yet nobody really knows what he does. He may be hanging around, but he sure doesn’t seem to be pulling his weight.

That One Guy could represent any word or phrase that always shows up in our writing but doesn’t contribute anything. Here’s a list of thirty-one words and phrases you need to take off your payroll this year.

Slacker Words and Phrases

At all times

Watch out for flabby phrases at all times.

Each and every

Look for filler words in your writing each and every day daily.

As yet

We don’t know as yet whether we’ll succeed.

In order

Eliminate excess verbiage in order to clean up your writing.

Basically, essentially

These words basically don’t add value. They’re essentially useless.

Totally, completely, absolutely, literally, actually

Without filler words, your writing will be totally fabulous.

Very, really, quite, rather, extremely

These very common words are really not useful. They’re rather dull.

Simply

Simply Don’t use this word often.

Pretty

It’s a pretty good idea to use this one sparingly, too.

Just

If your sentence works without it, you just don’t need this word.

That

This is a word that you should only use when you need it for clarity.

Up, down

We don’t care whether you stand up or sit down to write, just write cleanly!

In the process of

We’re in the process of learning to remove wordiness.

As a matter of fact

As a matter of fact, Your skills have improved.

All of

All of Your readers will enjoy reading cleaner copy.

As being

You’ll be known as being a proficient writer!

Being that

Being that Because you’re the best writer in your class, you’re sure to get good grades.

During the course of

During the course of the writing lesson, we learned some new tricks!

For all intents and purposes, For the most part

For all intents and purposes, Our writing has improved.

Point in time

You don’t need to use filler words at this point in time now.

Every word needs to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that don’t contribute anything but clutter. Now that you have a list of common offenders, how many more can you think of? Leave a comment!

Weekly Grammar Tips
Weekly Grammar Tips
Want more good reads?

Get the best stories delivered to you each week.

Comments
  • Bud Veazey

    You missed the big one: “sort of.”

    • Terri Lively

      And its cousin “kind of.”

  • Christine Fannon

    “In my opinion, I think…” Hmm. What do you think that ISN’T in your opinion?

    • Douglas Kelly

      That’s always correct. But when writing to friends and not stating to them what I’m writing is my opinion, they tend to understand me to be stating a fact. A fact with which they don’t agree, and they don’t hesitate to let me know. I need new friends.

    • Mel Jackson

      IMHO (In my humble opinion) lol

  • Tom Dunnock

    Every word needs to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that don’t contribute anything but clutter.

    Every word needs to have a purpose when writing and there are plenty that only contribute clutter.

    • Totally agree.

      Agree.

    • Fahad Khan

      Your every word should contribute purpose, not clutter.

  • TC DeA

    “Every word needs to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that don’t contribute anything but clutter.”

    Every word should have a purpose in writing, and plenty don’t contribute anything.

  • Susan

    Every word needs to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that don’t contribute anything but clutter.
    Every word needs to have a purpose when writing and there are plenty that contribute nothing but clutter.

  • Catherine Cole

    I remember my fifth grade English teacher correcting my paper. She taught me to include the word “that,” just the way you displayed above. Then it was required; now it is not.
    Times are changing. Writing is, too.

    • Rebecca Cook

      I had the same teaching and mentally want to insert “that” into sentences such as the one used in the example. Hard habit to break at 68 years old!

      • jzink0883

        +1 At 67, too.

      • Charlie Currie

        I dropped the insertion of “that” around the time I picked up crack. Give or take.

    • Chris Saunders

      You are correct. This article’s author is encouraging people to write in a style that would be considered uneducated and déclassé “back in the day”, and still is regarded as unlettered by readers such as myself. Were I to construct this the same article, it would occur as a complete reversal, with me advising people to insert these filler words to generate flow, color and style.

  • jzink0883

    My first post to grammarly.com is in a reply below. Pressure!

  • Allison Browne

    I think the word ‘relevant’ is overused.

    In most contexts desire for relevance is implied.

    • Flayer

      My all time hated word is “diverse.”

      • Deborah Hale

        Mine is “impacted.” Wisdom teeth are impacted. Everything else should be “affected.”

        • Flayer

          I never thought about it, but you have a good point. What is your position on “loan” vs “lend.” I learned that “loan” was a noun and lend a verb, but loan used so often as a verb, as in, “He loaned me the money,” that I’m starting to think that I may be wrong and the usage rules have changed.

          • Deborah Hale

            Just because it’s being used doesn’t make it correct. I also learned that “loan” was a noun and “lend” a verb. I’m rather fond of “lent” instead of “loaned” (it’s not just a religious observance!), I checked on dictionary.com and “lent” IS the proper past-tense of “lend.”

          • Flayer

            Thanks, Deborah. “Loaned” grates of me, and you hear it everywhere now.

          • Renee

            In my region, people actually say “He borrowed me the money.” ARGH.

    • Joel srodes

      You want overused? Amazing.

  • Sarah Cullen

    The irony of finding filler words in the summary paragraph….

  • Donna Freedman

    From my “Write A Blog People Will Read” course:

    ***Tip: Please don’t use “serve to,” a dyslexic infinitive that should have
    been smothered in its cradle. Nothing should “serve to enhance” or “serve to
    improve” – it either enhances or improves

  • Sarah Cullen

    Every written word should have purpose.

  • DJD11

    “Going forward”!

    • Charlie Currie

      I posted that above before reading all the comments. It has invaded like an invasive species.

    • FriendlyOntarian

      “Truth be told.”

  • Ted Manley

    “As I’ve said before”

  • kilobri

    “At the End of the Day” ~ Every dumb question gets “That’s a GREAT question”.

  • Peter Van Aken

    why do media sources state that a crime happened in BROAD daylight?

    • Jeffrey Samuel

      To emphasise the audaciousness of the criminal. A lot of crimes are committed under cover of darkness in order to avoid detection.

      • Flayer

        But is there another kind of daylight, other than “broad”? Could there be narrow daylight, for example?

        • Jeffrey Samuel

          I see your point. I don’t know why daylight is described as “broad” especially when referring to a crime. “Bright” or “Full” might seem more appropriate. A lesser degree of daylight can be twilight rather than “narrow daylight”

          • JTB

            Pretty sure it’s just used to indicate that it wasn’t hidden at all. For example, a robbery committed in a secluded alley would not be described as happening in “broad daylight” even if it was high noon. On the other hand, if it was committed at, say, a farmers’ market, we’d say it happened in “broad daylight” (as long as, of course, there was actually daylight). “Broad” refers to the wide range of people that saw, or possibly could have seen, the crime.

  • Charlie Currie

    I don’t think I can sleep until someone puts an end to “going forward”.

  • Flayer

    I find that when I write in the comments section of my neighborhood social site, if I am to sparing in my filler words, the readers accuse me of being a bully or harsh. When I add what I call “girly words” they accept my opinions more readily and seem less intimidated.

    • rugger

      Flayer, the ‘tightness’ of your writing is driven by the readers. My writing is tight for technical material, articles or when written for the stage. In other venues, a ‘looser’ writing style is more suitable and often more palatable.

      • Flayer

        Yes, but there is definitely a “woman’s style” of writing. You can usually spot it.

        I do want to be able to be more convincing and have those reading my words and opinions give them some thought without upsetting them or turning them off, especially as I’m usually in opposition to their point of view.

        • jenny

          I think you are confusing the difference between being blunt and tactful with gender roles….

        • jackscht

          Sexist drivel but no surprise coming from a right wing regressive that calls us ‘ladies’.

          • Flayer

            Sorry? You’re no lady. Don’t worry about it.

  • I’m a grammarly user and was wondering if these words are embedded in the rules that are used to check our writing? If not, they should be, it’s be a very nice upgrade.

    Ironically, grammarly doesn’t work when I am posting a comment on the grammarly blog 😉

    • Kilakila

      I disagree because this is a matter of style rather than grammar.

      • Actually, I’d like to make that decision as I’m going through the document. I tend to accept 80% of the recommendations that Grammarly makes. This would be a nice option.

  • Trisha Craig

    “Every word needs to have a purpose. . .” Words have needs?! I prefer “every word must have a purpose.”

  • Joseph Dabon

    Very revealing. I am guilty of using them more often than i should.

  • Sonia Nordenson

    Find ways to rephrase sentences that begin with “There is” or “There are.”

  • Puer Ferox Adventus

    the reason why…

    • Suzanne Bennett

      Agreed! Give me the reason. Period. Or tell me why.

  • rugger

    In a parallel vein, from seventh grade (1946) on, we were forbidden to use the words ‘got’, ‘very’ and ‘thing’ as being too generalized. The replies to your list were amusing to read as was your article.

    • Douglas Kelly

      You too? If we used those words in any way we were docked a grade on our writing assignment.

  • Tricia Ziegler Moss

    Every word need to have a purpose in your writing, and there are plenty that do’t contribute anything but clutter.

    Each written word needs purpose. Words without purpose are clutter.

  • Douglas Kelly

    I wish I could use Grammarly for Word. But I use Microsoft Office from the cloud. So it can’t be done.

  • PlatoSocrates

    Brilliant! Please include the list in your GRAMMARLY check. Thank you.

    • Kilakila

      Using too many filler words is not grammatically incorrect. It’s just poor style.

  • McKimberly

    That being said . . .

  • Kilakila

    All in all, I agree. However, depending on the context, some of the examples above can add meaning (very, extremely, for the most part).

    • Jessica Lurty Newman

      You would use a synonym for your intended meaning

      • Kilakila

        Why should I use synonyms for words like “very” or “extremely” if they perfectly express what I want to say?

  • Juancho Excalibúrez Montorov

    I think “very” and “rather” can often modify the meaning, and thus be useful words: “He is a strong man”, “He is a very strong man”. Sometimes, though, they are useless. What do you think?

    English is not my native language, so I might be wrong, of course 🙂

    • Jessica Lurty Newman

      You,instead, would find a synonym for “very strong” to replace it.

      • Juancho Excalibúrez Montorov

        Why would that be better than “very strong”? What is the reason for not using the word “very”? In my opinion, it is only a feeble argument of authority.

        • Juancho Excalibúrez Montorov

          (like many of the rules of Rhetoric: “Quintilianus said…”)

  • Lynn Wade

    So why is EVERYONE (even doctors, etc. I hear on NPR) beginning their sentences with the word, “so”? So is this some new, necessary thing? So has anyone else noticed this?!

    • Ritchie

      I agree, it is sooo overused.

    • Do_the_research_brit

      My husband is a CEO and at his company awards dinner last week he started his speech “SO…” and name-checked a young member of his staff. (He had fore-warned her.)

  • Ritchie

    Although it doesn’t qualify as a slacker word, I find the word “just” to be demeaning. As in: ” As long as you are already going to town, could you just pick up a few things for me?”

  • Dan Horan

    I enjoyed the article, thank you. My pet hate is “pre-recorded.” Please tell me as soon as someone successfully “post records” something. “Recorded” is sufficient.

    • Brian Whitehead

      Not necessarily. Saying a performance was ‘recorded’ for example, could mean that the event in question was live, but was being recorded for later use. Saying it was pre-recorded makes clear that the current performance is not live.

    • Nadine Ireland

      Your pet hate is similar to mine: ‘preplanned’. How is preplanning different from planning?

  • Nancy Y. Bonar

    In academia’s formal writing style, “that” is used. As an editor of dissertations, I’m forced to use “that,” but do so judiciously.

  • Such great reminders! I love how this is presented with the strike-through sample sentences!

  • Joel srodes

    May I offer an exception to the cause of eliminating extraneous words and phrases? In everyday speech these words/phrases are used in conversations. At times writing is also speech; I refer to dialogue. When writing, isn’t it important to “talk” in the vernacular of the characters?

  • Kristen Rold

    I’m not an experienced writer, I’m a beginner and want to improve. I believe this list is great in making a point. But say one was writing a novel. Wouldn’t thee words of emphasis be a good addition?

  • Ayush Vora

    This is a great list, thanks Grammarly! Some of these apply even to conversation, at times.
    Some other offenders I’ve noticed:

    Gimme a call.
    Call me.

    I’ll get in touch with/reach out to you.
    I’ll contact you.

    I’ll keep you updated/informed/in the loop.
    I’ll update/inform you.

    Lemme know.
    Tell me.

    The design part is something we can finalize.
    We can finalize the design part.

    We’ll come up with a list.
    We’ll make a list.

    Give it a try/watch/hear.
    Try/watch/hear it. (This makes it look curt, though.)

    Create an impact on millions of people.
    Impact millions of people.

    You take ownership of of the project.
    You own the project.

  • Vijay Vidhu

    Hey, but a genuine doubt, what happens if we really used it? like the ‘really’ here?

  • Hànnàh Hickling

    Unless you have a minimum word limit and feel you’ve already said everything you need to say… That’s when filler words come in handy!

  • I only partly agree. Those are great guidelines for classical long writting but not for social media and online chatting that try to emulate casual spoken conversation. As you may know when we speak actual words make up for less then 10% of out message, the rest comes from the tone of our voice and body language. I believe that is wthat makes online discussions such a mess – we usually cannot tell what mood the other person is in and how serious they are, even if it’s the person we know well. Filler words try to help here. They don’t contribute in a logic department but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a purpose.

  • Eddie Correia

    In all honesty and as a matter of fact, I really just don’t see the point of using lots and lots of extra, superfluous and totally unnecessary words in order to make any sort of a point at all. 😀

  • Steve Silberman

    Odd historical note

    Some phrases start as a joke, but people keep using them. Where I grew up, I never heard “at this point in time” until Richard Nixon’s colleagues were trying to waffle their way through answering questions that had no good answers. It was the only time I can remember the “man in the street” recognizing totally extraneous, extremely superfluous, and thoroughly unnecessary verbiage.

    People started using the phrase to make fun of the administration. For example, I once overheard: “Would you like anything else, sir” — “No thanks, at this point in time I’ll just have coffee”. Both waitress and customer grinned at each other.

    I kept hearing the phase when too much time had gone by to call that time a point. The phrase entered common usage, and only a few of us senior citizens remember where it came from.

    I thought about that lately, wondering if “alternative facts” will someday be in common use.

  • Steve Silberman

    Everyone pads sometimes. From elsewhere on this site:
    “But then again, if we were to always capitalize the names we give to specific periods of time, wouldn’t we then also have to capitalize afternoon or morning?”

    Does anyone have an example of a period of time that has a name, but isn’t specific?

  • Matt Lardie

    Really, An advertisement for Grammarly Or truth in blogging?
    Wickedly funny!

  • Loring Amass

    Can you address the proper use of the word “get” in all its definitions?

Your writing, at its best
Why not make your writing mistake-free across the web?
Get Grammarly It’s free
Blog Updates
Sign up for our weekly newsletter and never miss a story.
Want more good reads?

Get the best stories delivered to you each week.

Embed Code

Copy code below to embed this post to your site.