Getting rid of empty rhetoric

13Jul09

Whether you’re writing a blog post or a user’s guide or a full-length novel, one way to improve your writing is to eliminate unnecessary words. By getting rid of words like “very” and phrases like “in my opinion”, you help the reader focus on the core of your argument, without the fluff.

The same guideline applies to the cookie-cutter statements that often appear in customer-facing emails, signage, and other messaging. Here are a few examples:

– “Thank you for your cooperation”
– “We apologize for the inconvenience”
– “We appreciate your understanding”

Since these statements are so overused, they really don’t mean anything. The next time you’re tempted to use one, try leaving it out instead. Your message will be shorter and more sincere — increasing the odds that your readers will take the desired action after reading it.



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