My experience combined with the help of guidetogrammar.org informs the following table, which lists words and phrases that are commonly-used but oftentimes weaken writing. Consider adopting the “less is more ” approach and strengthen your writing. Take out fillers and intensifiers. Don’t get fancy with words like “ought,” “utilize,” and “necessitate”; odds are they’re contextually incorrect and skew meaning. Stick to simple, effective, concise, and intentional language.

Don’t see a word or phrase you use often but aren’t sure is helping or hurting? Comment it below for feedback!

Word/PhraseExplanationExample
“and/or”Unproductive, with the exception of legal writing. Use one or the other: just “and” or just “or.”“We can talk on the phone and/or meet tomorrow.”
“as to whether”Needlessly wordy. Just “whether” will suffice.“I’m concerned as to whether she can handle the workload.”
Intensifiers: “very,” “really,” quite,” “totally,” and “essentially.” Needlessly wordy; seldom useful. Omit.“I totally agree with you and think it’s quite counterproductive. Essentially, I will revamp our process to totally account for this feedback.”
“being that” or “being as”Non-standard. Use “because” instead.Being that Because she’s so experienced, I have full confidence in her ability to finish the project.”
“to be”: “considered to be,” “excited to be,” “to be” is normally implied and therefore unnecessary. Omit whenever possible.“Editing is considered to be tedious work.”
“due to the fact that”Never useful. Use “due to” when following a linking verb (e.g. “was”) or “because” when beginning a sentence.Due to the fact that Because he was late, the manager wrote him up.”

“The project’s failure was due to the fact that employees have low morale low employee morale.”
“each and every”Never useful. Use one or the other: just “each” or “every.”Each and every Each document will need to be reviewed individually.”
“equally as important as”Something can be “equally important” or “as important as,” but not “equally as important as.”“Initial training is equally as important as annual evaluations and re-training.”
Gender-specific pronouns: “he,” “she,” “he/she,” “his” “her,” “his/her.”Especially when recurring, generalizing with gender-specific pronouns can be obtrusive. It is now grammatically correct to use “their” or you can of course revert to the very general “one.”“An applicant is required to submit his or her their resume and transcripts prior to the interview.”
Adverbial numerations: “firstly, “secondly,” and “thirdly.”Use “first,” “second,” and “third.”“Firstly, I will design your website. Secondly, I will create content. Thirdly, I will build submission forms.”
“Irregardless”“Regardless” already means “without regard for.” “Irregardless” is redundant and ineffective.IrrRegardless of my low GPA, I was selected for the internship.”
“Kind of” or “sort of”Too informal. Use “somewhat,” “rather,” or “slightly” instead or omit entirely.“I was kind of rather hesitant to submit the proposal without a detailed timeline.”
“alot”Incorrect; a common misspelling of “a lot.”“We spent alot a lot of time reviewing our applicants.”
“would of,” “should of,” “could of”Informally used and incorrect. Properly written as “would have,” “should have,” and “could have.”“I would of have written sooner, but I had limited access to email.”
“at this point in time”Needlessly wordy; seldom useful. Use “at this point,” “at this time,” or “now.”“At this point in time, it’s clear we need to reframe our goals.”
“per”Unproductive, with the exception of legal and technical writing (or the passive aggressive “per my last email”). Use “according to” instead.“I completed the project per according to your instructions.”
“’til”Incorrect. Use “until” or “till.”“I won’t know ’til till tomorrow.”
“try and”You don’t “try and” do something, you “try to” do something.“I will try and to send it to you by tomorrow.”
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