Content Marketing and Copywriting no image

Published on April 14th, 2011 | by Janine Popick

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11 Small Words that Crowd Your Copy

We talk about copywriting at VR because it’s integral to any marketing. Whether you’re writing an email, website copy, online ad, Twitter Tweet, Facebook post, or blog post, you’re communicating to your audience with words, and therefore copywriting.

There are small words that make a big impact on your copy – and not always a positive one. In my recent blog post, Who Else Wants to Write Better Copy, I discussed cutting clutter and improving copy. And the quickest way is by removing any unnecessary words such as “that” or “to.” Well, here are additional small offenders that crowd your copy – try removing them whenever you can:

  1. Some: We have some great products vs. We have great products
  2. Great: We have great products to chose from vs. We have products to chose from
  3. Many: We have many products vs. We have products
  4. Even: They even grew their ROI 20% vs. They grew their ROI 20%
  5. Right: Many business are making the switch right now vs. Many businesses are making the switch now
  6. Such: It makes such a difference vs. It makes a difference
  7. Quite: It’s been quite a hard choice vs. It’s been a hard choice
  8. Only: It only takes a minute vs. It takes a minute
  9. Got: We have got choices vs. We have choices
  10. The: Improving the copy vs. Improving copy
  11. Really: They really get the job done vs. They get the job done

These words might be small, but taking them out can make a big impact. Start cutting your copywriting clutter today! Are there additional words you can think of removing from your copy? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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About the Author

is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse.



9 Responses to 11 Small Words that Crowd Your Copy

  1. Susette Horspool says:

    “The,” “really,” and “very” are words that I take out often – not always, because on occasion they do add personality – but people do use them far too much. I recently reduced a document to half its size by eliminating unnecessary verbiage (which made it more interesting, too).

  2. Allison says:

    How about the word “very.” We have very good products vs. We have superb products.

  3. Carol says:

    Superfluous words are like too much parsley on a plate — they can usually be tossed aside without changing a dish’s flavour.

  4. Thanks for this article. As a writer and editor, I generally agree with what you are saying. I would add that to make copy more interesting these words can be replaced with descriptive adjectives or adverbs that help sell products and services.

  5. Kay says:

    Add to the list, “will be having”, “will have” and variations of these. “We will have a pizza dinner tomorrow for friends.” vs “Join us tomorrow for pizza!”

  6. I totally agree. Reminds me of Strunk & White’s classic “The Elements of Style” and their advice to omit needless words. All of the above apply – but as some of your readers pointed out, can be used sparingly for emphasis.

  7. Mike says:

    Very true with many of the comments. You did such a great job putting some really good content together! … I don’t agree however with the 10th line, the word “the”; This is a necessary word for making sentences grammatically correct.

  8. Erin says:

    I generally love VR’s tips.
    Although I am a big fan of concision and clutter-free writing, I disagree with several of these. Depending on your purpose, removing words takes away personality and meaning from the message. “We have products” is not going to sell your products as well without a qualifier. “They really get the job done” gives personality and positive emphasis, where “They get the job done” is boring… although this one does depend on context.
    We definitely want to be careful about being too wordy, but at the same time, while we’re looking to eliminate words from our copy, take into consideration the meaning and the message.

  9. Dale says:

    The word “definitely” can also be added to the list.

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