backJust say the word

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By Lynne Laracy

Some of us made padding out our writing an art form when handing in school or university assignments with a specified work count. But in business writing, padding doesn’t pay.

Every unnecessary word makes the job harder for your colleagues and managers, and dilutes your message. It also contributes to the avalanche of words your readers have to wade through each day.

One way of cutting down the padding is look for typical phrases you use when one word would do the job. We all have our ‘padding pets’. Hunt out yours out and just say the word!

Here is a selection of my padding peeves. These three, four and fivesomes need to go solo.


Going solo


by means of


We will reduce waste by means of recycling.

in accordance with

under, by

In accordance with [Under] the new law

with regard to


I am writing with regard to [about] a new offer.

in order to


Switch it off in order to reduce noise.

an absence of

no, none

There is an absence of [no] reliable data.

at this time


The training is [now] fully booked. at this time

Four or fivesomes



until such time as


Remain onsite until such time as the work is complete.

through the use of


The water is sterilised through the use of [by] boiling.

due to the fact that


The meeting was late due the fact that [because] members were stuck in traffic.

a sufficient number of


There are [enough] a sufficient number of chairs.

in a careful manner


She worked in a careful manner [carefully].

please do not hesitate to


Please do not hesitate to contact me.


What are your pet padding peeves? 

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