10 words to cut

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,”  in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an article about 10 words to cut from your writing… 

I like editing techniques that are really easy to use. Not everyone understands the passive voice, for example, so I like the way the Hemingway App simply highlights it for you.

Recently, my daily newspaper carried an article outlining 10 words that, writer Shanna Mallon argued, should be cut from every piece of business writing. I love this sort of approach because it’s clear, concise and easy to implement.

Her words are:

Just
Really
Very
Perhaps/maybe
Quite
Amazing
Literally
Stuff
Things
Got

I agree with all her suggestions, except perhaps for the word “stuff,” which I like using, occasionally. I value the informality of it. Have a read of her entire article and see what you think.

My only complaint about her article? Her attribution of comment about not having the time to write a short letter is incorrect. Scholars cannot agree who said this, and, in addition to Mark Twain it has been variously attributed to Blaise Pascal, Thomas Jefferson and Winston Churchill.