Wordy Offenders

To write the most effective copy, cut wordiness. During revisions, look for words that . . .


  • are unnecessary
  • slow the reading pace
  • distract from the main idea


Below, we’ve listed some frequent wordy offenders and demonstrated how to eliminate them.


There are/is

Example: There is a black cat who sits on the windowsill.

Improved: A black cat sits on the windowsill.


Being verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been)

Example: She was staring at the cat.

Improved: She stared at the cat.



Example: Joe knelt down on the grass.

Improved: Joe knelt on the grass.


It is

Example: It is clear that Rose is unprepared.

Improved: Rose is clearly unprepared.



Example: The books, which were heavy, were packed in small boxes.

Improved: The heavy books were packed in small boxes.



Examples: A sharp wit is very necessary in this profession.

Improved: A sharp wit is necessary in this profession.

Had a/n

Example: The research had an influence on his decision.

Improved: The research influenced his decision.


On how to

Example: I read a book on how to code.

Improved: I read a book on coding.


Of the

Example: She wasted the time of the crowd.

Improved: She wasted the crowd’s time.


Eliminate wordiness, and your copy will improve significantly. We’re eager to read your concise writing.


The Editors


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