31 Words and Phrases You No Longer Need

31 Words and Phrases You No Longer Need

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 Don’t use this word often.


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


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


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!

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  • 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.


      • Pericles Parthenon

        i see what you did there. narf.

        • eddiepunch

          “I see what you did there.”

          I can’t stand people using ” I see what you did there.”
          You are so clever. Your Mummy must be very proud of you.
          What do you want ? A prize ?

          P.S. Capital “I” not “i”

    • Fahad Khan

      Your every word should contribute purpose, not clutter.

      • Basket Ball

        Words should contribute purpose, not clutter.

        • Rick

          Say shit quickly.

  • 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.

      • Simbeline

        I think it depends what you’re using your writing for. Of course if you are writing a novel or poem, these words add character to your writing. On the other hand, you don’t need to add character to business or daily communication, where you want to get your point across in an efficient and respectful way. Wasting people’s time being verbose in those situations isn’t very classy either. There’s a time and a place to show your vocabulary knowledge, and showing it in the wrong place comes across as pretentious rather than intelligent.

  • 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.

      • rar113

        Mine is “orientated.” The house was orientated to the east. I guess people feel you make a verb out of “orientation” that way.

    • 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.

          • Melissa Cicione

            Because she feels as though you are belittling females by defining “a woman’s style” as something less advantageous than you may limit yourself too?* (See what i did there?) If you are a journalist of any sort, please proof read your comments before posting.

          • Flayer

            She can “feel” anyway she wants. Are we ladies all about “feelings”? Haha. Well, on my social sites I’ve been accused of being harsh, sharp, mean, rude and so on. So I recently adopted a more “soft” feminine tone using all the extra words. I haven’t had any complaints lately. Interesting, right? But ole’ jackscht is just plain rude and the name-calling is the hallmark of a liberal loon.

  • 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.”

    • Simbeline

      There’s a big difference between “x needs y” and “x needs to y”. This is not a mistake -_-

  • 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?

        • Simbeline

          Jessica might mean rather than saying “extremely big”, for example, you could use one synonym like “huge” or “gigantic” instead.

          • Kilakila

            That might work in some cases but not always.

          • Simbeline

            Oh, I agree. I’m just saying maybe that’s what Jessica meant.

          • rar113

            Or bigly.

    • Lixxz

      I think several of their examples offer subtle conntations that are missing in the revised versions. As long as writers are mindful of how they use those words and phrases, it’s fine.

    • primostyles

      All in all

      • Kilakila

        I disagree. “All in all” adds a subtle meaning. I don’t fully agree. But all in all, I do.

  • 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.)

    • rar113

      I wonder if that’s a Yiddishism, translation of “Nu?” As in “Nu? is that what you learned in school today?” “Nu? Are you going to play with your food all night?”

    • eddiepunch

      It’s even worse in German. Waiters walk up to tables, look at the guests and let out an elongated “sooooooo” as a sign that they are now prepared to devote the next thirty seconds or so to taking an order.

    • Kristina

      I think it’s even worse when they end with “so” like they’re going to clarity but never do. If you’re through talking, just stop.

  • 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?

    • rar113

      Why doesn’t anyone use the subjunctive mood any more?
      “But say one were writing a novel.”

      • catlady16

        I use the subjunctive frequently. Had I not studied Latin, this might not have been the case.

        • rar113

          “Were he but Christian, he war a vary parfit gentle knight” Chanson de Roland
          “If ’twere done when ’tis done, ’twere well it were done quickly!” Macbeth

          • catlady16

            Excellent examples of the contribution of the subjunctive to clarity and brevity in writing.

  • 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.

    • Tim Jones

      No, no, no! IMPACT is a blow, it is a noun. One can create an impact, but one can never impact on something. The better verb is affect. You can affect millions of people You can influence millions of people. you can impress millions of people.

      • Ayush Vora

        Thanks! 🙂

    • catlady16

      “I’ll keep you updated” as opposed to “I’ll update you” implies a continuous process rather than a single one.

  • 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?

    • rar113

      A Jewish bill of divorce is called a get.

  • Kuildeous

    Excellent use of examples. I feel these lists are stronger when supported with relevant examples.

  • Lisa M

    Might not be relevant to this subject, however, I hate hearing “it’s got” ,”we’ve got”…etc. They translate as “it has got” and “we have got”. Whyyyyy? Lol
    Wouldn’t you just say…”it has” or “we have”?
    This drives me nuts. Anyone else?

    • catlady16

      In my youth, I was told to avoid “got” in writing.

  • ImaMe

    Thank you for attempting to stop the ridiculousness of “language” lately <3 It's too bad so many don't know nor care how STUPID they sound when talking. These, of course, are the same people who can't understand why they can't find a livable wage job.

  • MichiganWoman49

    Agree to a point. Sometimes those extra words create a rhythm to a phrase.

  • Pericles Parthenon

    How about ‘impact’ as a verb. Drives me nuts. And ‘impactful.” aaaaaargh.

  • Linda Lierman

    The “right-hand” side of the road. How about just the “right” side?

  • Mike Browne


  • Janice Moio

    I have been guilty of using all of the above!

  • Why do you bother?

    You’re dead wrong about “that.” Otherwise, I agree.

  • Viktor Tunić

    How about saying “second of all”, after “first of all”?
    I would put it up there. 🙂

  • Christine Penney

    Other useless words: in terms of, currently, in addition to, also, passive verbs such as will be, have been, has been, etc.

  • Jackie M.

    I know someone who uses “the following”, as in “I’m going to do the following: take out the trash, mow the lawn, and wash the dishes.” Drives me CRAZY!!

  • Indian Rider

    Let’s get rid of “AMAZING & AWESOME” in language, written and spoken!

  • Debbie Rea

    “Only” is misplaced in Grammarly’s sentence: “This is a word (that) you should only use when you need it for clarity.”

  • What’s wrong with ”In order to”?

    • Ayush Vora

      The same thing that’s wrong with other words in the list? (That they’re unneeded?)

      • ”In order to” specifies that in accordance to do a certain task or to achieve a certain result. Doesn’t it?

        • Ayush Vora

          Can you think of an example in which “in order to” adds more meaning than just “to”?

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