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Cut the crap - Tighten your writing by getting rid of these 10 filler words

When words are your weapon it’s understandable to want to play with them, using as many as you can, and make your sentences flowery. Unless you’re writing poetry, you will be surprised at how many unnecessary filler words you write, which can have a negative impact on the reader. Here are a list of words that you should immediately put a red line through.

Filler words can slow down the pace of your book. Where a reader wants to be in the thick of the action, they don’t want to have to wade through unnecessary emphasis or descriptive language that isn’t warranted. Do a ctrl+f on your manuscript for the following list and see just how often you put hurdles in front of your audience.


DELETE - This words has no purpose other than to bump up word count. If it’s not absolutely necessary to explain something, then get rid of it.

2A lot

REPLACE - Don’t say ‘a lot’ a lot, or indeed at all. You need to quantify what you’re talking about, with actual figures, or use a different adjective. Just to say ‘a lot’ means nothing without context.

3So as (to)

DELETE - Why use three words when one does the job better. Just like its partner ‘in order to’, ‘so as to’ is just extra words without adding anything of value. Do a search and replace so as to streamline your story.


DELETE - Is something ‘exciting’ or ‘very exciting’? Does that mean it’s more exciting than something that is just exciting? Is something that’s ‘very hard’ harder than something that’s just hard? Just do a blanket delete for the word very, it doesn’t add anything to your story.


DELETE - ‘Seem’ is too vague and opens the door to misinterpretation. Be stronger with your writing and get your point across by using ‘is’ instead.


DELETE - Is it literal or is it figurative? Context should make it clear, meaning that ‘literally’ is redundant.


DELETE - Do you need it? Do you really need it? Really? No.


DELETE - Another word which adds vagueness to a sentence, unless it’s paired with ‘than’. You can’t quantify it. Was he ‘rather handsome’? Is that less or more handsome than simply handsome?


REPLACE - Same as rather, it means nothing. How many is quite a few? Say that instead.


REPLACE - What stuff? What are you talking about? Be specific.

The list isn’t exhaustive, but serves to give you an idea on how you can tighten up your writing with just deleting or replacing a few words.

Let us know what filler words you avoid below, and be sure to sign up to our newsletter which includes tips and tricks, and special offers for our services, including ready-made book covers and designs, eBook formatting, and promotional tools.

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