The Compulsive Copyeditor

July 23, 2009

Deadword [UPDATED AGAIN]

Filed under: language degenerating — amba12 @ 6:34 am

“The fact that”.  “In order to”.  “There is”.   Rarely, rarely do these serve any purpose.  They are filler — the Styrofoam packing peanuts of language.  Cut them out, and 99% of the time what you want to say will lift free unbroken, with the expensive density of leaded crystal.

Think of some others for me.  “A kind of,” “a type of,” “in such a way as to”?  I’ve been editing somebody who starts many a sentence with “As such,” out of the blue, just for the hell of it.

UPDATE: Ah! Ah! Ah!  Another one — another two:  “tended to,” “seemed to.”  Get off the pot!  It either did or didn’t, was or wasn’t!  What weasel words these are!

UPDATE II: “That is the reason why” instead of “That is why.”

There are syllables that are fillers, too.  (Fyllables?)  Tacking -ical, -ization, or -ification onto a perfectly good root often has much the same [“kind of”] deadening effect.  (Come to think of it, “effect” . . .)  Is just as deadening.  You’d be amazed how short, bright, and fresh a word can look, shorn of all those gimcracks and tailfins.

What is the need to say “conceptualization” when you can say “concept”?

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3 Comments »

  1. They’re the fuzzy dice of words.

    Comment by Ruth Anne — July 23, 2009 @ 4:18 pm | Reply

  2. Would “On the other hand…” fit this standard?

    Comment by Ron — July 23, 2009 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

  3. “Let me be perfectly clear” comes to mind. Translation: “I’m lying through my teeth.”

    Comment by Sissy Willis — July 23, 2009 @ 6:28 pm | Reply


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