Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 09.


Writers enjoy sharing ideas to improve the craft. So, let’s chop the fat from our writing. Make it lean and trim. Readers will thank us.

In this series, I’ll look at some common redundancies.

But, reading this post and nodding wisely in agreement won’t cut it. We have to stay alert to those extraneous words that sneak into text, or they’ll slide in when we’re not looking. Including this as part of our editing process should catch most offenders.

Add an additional:

If something is additional it’s added; if it’s added, it’s additional. Redundancy. e.g. He had to add an additional item to the shopping list. Try: He added something to his shopping list. Better, identify the item; it makes it specific and more interesting. Say, ‘He added coffee to his shopping list.’


A very lazy way to increase the strength of meaning. e.g. She was very worried. Try: She was anxious.

Gather together:

When items are gathered, they are brought together, so ‘together’ is unnecessary. e.g. Gather together your belongings and go. Try: Gather your belongings and go!

These are suggestions only, intended to make us think about what we write, to examine the words and help us decide how we can improve the sense of them. Writing rules are useful guides, but, as George Orwell said, ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’