Written business content needs to be free of filler words. Filler words (and phrases, for that matter) are those that you can safely jettison to make your key points sharper and your message easier to digest.

But what’s so bad about a filler word?

Hear ‘filler word’ and think ‘empty calories’ – they have the same effect. Like something that tastes good for about a nanosecond but which is ultimately unsatisfying (and does nothing for your hips). Filler words use up space for no good reason and are often actually redundant. Oops, there’s one right there: ‘actually’.

Typical filler words

That. Probably Numero Uno on the Filler Words Top 50, ‘that’ can easily be dispensed with most of the time.

He promised that he would give up lighting fires.

He promised he would give up lighting fires.

Really. Often used to emphasise a point, ‘really’ is most times completely unnecessary.

Her talent for playing the nose-flute was really superb.

Her talent for playing the nose-flute was superb.

Absolutely. Compulsory if you’re declaring something to be ‘absolutely fabulous’, but otherwise can be left out and still get your point across. Less is more, after all.

The police were absolutely convinced the fingerprints on the gun were a clue.

The police were convinced the fingerprints on the gun were a clue.

Basically. Typically used to exaggerate for effect. Fine when chatting to a friend, but not so hot in business communication.

Basically, her whole outfit looked like a nightmare.

Her whole outfit looked like a nightmare.

Simply. Leaving ‘simply’ out can sometimes work to make your point stronger.

You’re simply the best, better than all the rest.

You’re the best, better than all the rest.

For help with copywriting, proofreading or editing any of your business documents, contact Proof Communications on 02 8036 5532 or 0411 123 216 or head to the contact page.

Filler Instinct was last modified on July 7th, 2020 by Proof Communications Team
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