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10 Most Commonly Edited Phrases

These are phrases up with which I will not put. (Roughly paraphrased from Winston Churchill)

Most business owners, when they write ebooks, get addicted to certain phrases. When I see these egregious expressions, I automatically delete or rephrase – sometimes because they are so darn common, and sometimes because they just grate on my nerves. Since these phrases are a blight on the planet, they need to be eradicated like word cancer.

  1. “There are” (far too many sentences begun in this fashion). I probably delete at least 20 to 100 per ebook.
  2. “Out there” (could mean ‘in the world’, ‘around the globe’, ‘in the business realm’, or ‘at the grocery store’).
  3. “For me personally” (is redundant). Just stick with “Personally”.
  4. “I think that”/”I find” (something this obvious needs to go). If you’re writing your opinion or advice, rather than a dissertation or some brand of scientific third-person document, the reader already knows that you’re writing what you think.
  5. “In my experience” (this is the third phrase that needs to go). Refer to point 4. Business owners almost always refer to their own experience, because your reflections are valuable and useful, whereas this phrase means nothing. If the experience came from someone else, you would have referenced their name already.
  6. “Here are” (words that don’t make sense). Unless you are using this material as a PowerPoint slideshow, you cannot point to the content and say “here”; your readers are in a different geographical location from your own. What you mean is, “below are” or “there are” or “find some interesting points in the following bit of content”.
  7. “This means that” (you’re using nonsense words). Just state the reason why, or show the reason why. Show, don’t tell.
  8. “I could see that” (this will be a time-consuming job). When leading a reader to drink the water of commerce, what you saw is rather unimportant. The conclusion that you draw is quite important, but it’s not necessary to drag your own sweet self into the mixture. They’re hearing quite enough about you as it is.
  9. “I” (that’s it). Far too many authors love to talk about themselves, their story, their abilities, their amazing progress through the slings and arrows of outrageous life…Try, just once, doing a word search on your material for the word “I”. Stare in wonder at the yellow-dotted screen. Think about your material as if you were a reader. Would you want to hear from anyone about themselves that much?
  10. “You can”/”You want to”/”You need to”/”You must” (skip them all). When connecting with your readers, it’s not necessary to berate them with what they need to do. Tell them what to do, and show why it’s necessary, or why it will benefit their business. Don’t lecture them like a third-grade teacher on the invisible steroids of crowd control. “You need to stop lecturing”…..would be a useless phrase.

Next week, I’ll post a few more….just for fun, and word cancer eradication.

Your Friend Linda from EditFluff

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