JS Tip 470: Useless Words
From the Writing Workshops: Useless Extra Words
Our friend Steve Borgna noticed how some writers begin their sentences with “It should be noted . . . .” Their sentences look like this: “It should be noted the issue is critical.”
Other writers begin sentences with “It is this writer’s firm belief . . . ” as in “It is this writer’s firm belief that we must begin the work immediately.”
Some of us remember—from a previous life—radio chatter that began with “Be advised that . . . .” “Be advised that you have three medevacs inbound.”
Why do they do this?
Why do they take up space with words that mean nothing?
Why not begin a sentence with . . . um . . . the sentence?
“The issue is critical.”
“We must begin the work immediately.”
“You have three medevacs inbound.”
Many writers use useless words because that’s the way they learned to write: “All right, class. Take out a blank piece of paper and write a five-hundred-word essay on ‘What I did for my summer vacation.’”
It was easier to use useless words than it was to confess how we exploded firecrackers on Mr. Gormley’s lawn.
Consider everything you write a draft. Then review what you’ve written. Ask yourself, “What am I trying to say?” And get rid of everything that doesn’t belong. That’s useless. That’s extra.
We love this stuff.