Plague Words and Phrases (I)

 (Avoid problems created by these words or phrases.)

  1. And also This is often redundant.
  2. And/or Outside of the legal world, most of the time this construction is used, it is neither necessary nor logical. Try using one word or the other.
  3. As to whether The single word whether will suffice.
  4. Basically, essentially, totally These words seldom add anything useful to a sentence. Try the sentence without them and, almost always, you will see the sentence improve.
  5. Being that or being as These words are a non-standard substitute for because. Being that Because I was the oldest child, I was the only one who got new clothes.
  6. Considered to be Eliminate the to be and, unless it's important who's doing the considering, try to eliminate the entire phrase.
  7. Due to the fact that Using this phrase is a sure sign that your sentence is in trouble. Did you mean because? Due to is acceptable after a linking verb (The team's failure was due to illness among the stars.); otherwise, avoid it.
  8. Each and every One or the other, but not both, please.
  9. Equally as Something can be equally important or as important as, but not equally as important.
  10. Etc. This word often suggests a kind of laziness. It might be better to provide one more example to suggest that you could've written more, but chose not to.
  11. He/she is a monstrous convention. Use he or she or pluralize (where appropriate) so you can avoid the problem of the gender-specific pronoun altogether.
  12. Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc. Number things with first, second, third, etc. and not with these adverbial forms.
  13. Got Avoid this ugly word whenever possible. I have got to must begin studying right away. I have got two pairs of sneakers.
  14. Had ought or hadn't ought. Eliminate the auxiliary had. You hadn't ought not to pester your sister that way.
  15. Interesting One of the least interesting words in English, the word you use to describe an ugly baby. If you show us why something is interesting, you're doing your job.
  16. In terms of See if you can eliminate this phrase.
  17. Irregardless No one word will get you in trouble with the boss faster than this one.
  18. Kind of or sort of. These are ok in informal situations, but in formal academic prose, substitute somewhat, rather or slightly. We were kind of rather pleased with the results.
  19. Literally This word might be confused with literarily, a seldom used adverb relating to authors or scholars and their various professions. Usually, though, if you say it's "literally a jungle out there," you probably mean figuratively, but you're probably better off without either word.
  20. Lots or lots of In academic prose, avoid these colloquialisms when you can use many or much. Remember, when you do use these words, that lots of something countable are plural. Remember, too, that a lot of requires three words: "He spent a lot of money" (not alot of).