Cut The Fat; Make Your Writing Lean: #Tip 46.


We writers share ideas to improve our craft. This series aims to trim our writing. Readers will appreciate the absence of these common redundancies and flabby expressions.

Meet with each other:

If you’re getting together, you’re meeting. You don’t need ‘with each other’. e.g. They met with each other to discuss her offer. Try: They met to discuss her offer.

Is interesting to me:

This is wordy and weak. e.g. Creating is interesting to me. Try: Creating interests me.

Personal friend:

Friends are rarely impersonal. e.g. She’s a personal friend of mine. Try: She’s a friend of mine. Or, depending on context: She’s a friend.

If you read these posts and just nod sagely, you won’t improve your writing. You’ll need to stay alert for extraneous words sneaking into text, or they’ll slide in unnoticed. Include this as part of your editing process, and you’ll catch most offenders. Fiction writers know real people use redundancy and meaningless expressions when talking, so dialogue can read more naturally by occasionally including these.

These suggestions are intended to make us examine our words to help us improve our writing. Rules about writing form useful guides but they’re not set in stone. Always bear in mind George Orwell’s wise words; ‘Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.’