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5 Words and phrases you probably don’t need

When writing website content, ad copy and even captions for social media, it’s important to get to the point. Why? Because adding unnecessary words in a sentence can clutter content and overwhelm your reader. No one wants to trip over words when reading an Instagram caption or a business’s blog–especially when they’re looking for specific information.

Parkway’s content team may not always see eye to eye when it comes to Oxford comma use, but we agree on certain words and phrases that shouldn’t be overused. Copy should be less cluttered and more precise—while staying true to your voice, of course!


The next time you write a social media caption or blog post, stop every time you find the word that. When you find it, read the sentence without it. Does it sound like a complete sentence without the word? Usually, it does. That is often an unnecessary word unless used as a point of reference. Though it doesn’t hurt a sentence structure, it usually doesn’t need to be included.

(with that): “It’s the biggest building that I’ve ever seen.”
(without that): “It’s the biggest building I’ve ever seen.”

Able to, capable of

You may feel like these phrases don’t belong on this list. The thing is, they can easily be replaced with much more straightforward language. When writing technical copy or website content that needs to be to the point, don’t clutter your sentences with these phrases. Keep it simple and get your point across.

(with capable of): “He is capable of walking on his own.”
(without capable of): “He can walk on his own.”

Really, very, truly, slightly

Now is when this list gets a little controversial. Many writers love using modifiers in their sentences to add a little personality. However, it’s important to know your brand before throwing extra “fluff” into the picture. Even though modifiers such as really, very, truly and slightly can improve writing, they often are unnecessary.

(with modifier): “The information really helped the business.”
(without modifier): “The information helped the business.”

Rather, quite

Words, such as rather and quite, can add a little personality to a sentence, but those additional words usually add as much clutter as flair. These filler words are often superfluous and can be taken out to create better flow. Technical writing and website copy doesn’t need extra fluff and spice.

(with quite): “The weather was quite warm for the time of the year.”
(without quite): “The weather was warm for the time of the year.”

See below

Adding see below can be hard to avoid when creating list-style content. The Parkway content team knows this firsthand! It’s not easy to prepare a list and introduce it without something like see below or read this list as the transition. However, there are other, less obvious ways to introduce a listicle!

(with see below):See below for clarification on the confusing points.”
The alternatives aren’t always clear and often depend on the content you are writing. Segue into your listicle without making an obvious transition by incorporating ideas from the following points. Be smart and be smooth.

Things, stuff

Using words such as things and stuff not only sounds unsophisticated but makes you sound less confident. When you can’t pinpoint the specific ideas you’re trying to get across, your reader may begin to doubt your expertise. You’re the professional; choose words that make you sound like it!

(with stuff): “This is the stuff you need to know to pass the test.”
(without stuff): “Know these points to pass the test.”