Words to Use and Words to Lose

Some words and phrases can usually be omitted without affecting meaning, and omitting them often improves the readability of a sentence.

  • as already stated
  • in other words
  • it goes without saying
  • it is important (interesting) to note
  • it may be said that
  • it stands to reason that
  • it was found that
  • it was demonstrated that
  • needless to say
  • take steps to
  • the fact that
  • the field of 
  • to be sure

Quitevery, and rather are often overused and misused and can be deleted in many instances. Avoid roundabout and wordy expressions.

AVOIDBETTER
In terms of
An increased (decreased) number of 
As the result of 
During the time that
At this (that) point in time
In close proximity to
In regard to, with regard to
The majority of
Produce an inhibitory effect on
Commented to the effect that
Draws to a close file a lawsuit against
Have an effect (impact) on 
In the vicinity of 
In those areas where
Carry out 
Look after, take care of
Fall off
In, of, for
More (fewer)
Because of 
While
Now (then)
Near
About, regarding
Most
Inhibit
Said, stated
Sue
Affect
Near
Where
Perform, conduct
Watch, care for
Decline, decrease

Back-formations. Back-formation is the creation of a new word in the mistaken belief that it was the source of an existing word. Many back-formations are verbs, some of them derived from abstract nouns (ambulate from ambulation, diagnose from diagnosis, dialyze from dialysis) and others from agent nouns, real or supposed (beg from beggar, peddle from peddler, scavenge from scavenger). These examples of back-formations have achieved acceptance; however, many of those pertaining to medical jargon have not, including adhese, cyanose, defervesce, diurese, lyse, necroes, pex (from orchidopexy), plege (from cardioplegia), and torse. Medical jargon also includes many deviant singular forms of nouns derived by back-formation from plural forms (comedone from comedones, plural of comedo; fomite from fomites, plural of fomes) or supposed plural forms (bicep, forcep, pubis). Back-formations not recorded in dictionaries should be avoided in formal technical writing.

  • Back-formation: The patient was diuresed.
  • Preferred: The patient was given diuretics (or underwent diuresis). 
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