Words to avoid in formal writing

Summarized from two articles, 9 words to avoid saying today and More words and phrases for PR folks to avoid.

  • Honestly (as in “Honestly, what I think you need to do)
  • Actually
  • I mean
  • Honestly (as in “Honestly, what I think you need to do)
  • Actually
  • I mean
  • Absolutely (as a substitution for “yes”)
  • Awesome
  • Whatever

Words to look out for include “but” and “and.” Make sure you use them properly, meaning only when necessary, not as fillers. Some samples from Diane Schwartz below.

Sample One:

“I just read your report and found it very interesting. It’s well-written and thought-out. But you are missing a key idea.”

Response: “Oh.”

An alternative without “but”:

“I just read your report and found it very interesting. It’s well-written and thought-out and if we were to add a few more sentences on (fill in the blank), it would be ready to distribute.”

Response: “Great! Thank you!”

Sample Two:

“How does this outfit look on me?”

Response: “It looks nice, but you might want to loosen the belt.”

An alternative without “but”:

“How does this outfit look on me?”

Response: “It looks nice, and I like the shoes, too!”

Try replacing the word “but” with “and”. It may do wonders for your relationships, you know?

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