The “Get to the Point” column at www.attorneyatwork.com today has very concrete advice about six signs to look for that signal verbose writing. The column suggests that any time you see these words in your writing, they are signals that you may well be able to cut unnecessary words at those locations.
The six signs to look for include:
* Unnecessary words closely preceding the period at the end of a sentence. (Also look for unnecessary prepositional phrases elsewhere).
* A phrase beginning with “It” at the beginning of a sentence (such as, “It should be noted that”).
* The word “Or” (which often signals superfluous alternative words, for example: “Whether or not”).
* The word “Of” (which often signals superfluous words surrounding it).
* The word “In” (which often introduces superfluous “throat-clearing” phrases).
* The word “As” (works the same as the word “Of”).
There’s more detail in the column about why these words and phrases signal unnecessary verbosity, and how to fix the problems.