Faulty words and phrases
The following words and phrases often create problems.
This expression is usually redundant.
Try using one of these conjunctions. Using both conjunctions doesn’t make sense outside of the legal context.
As to whether
In most cases, the conjunction whether is more than enough.
Essentially, totally and basically
These adverbs hardly add any meaning. Eliminate them from your sentences and in all likelihood, your writing will improve.
Being that / being as
These phrases are often used instead of because, but they are not considered correct in Standard English.
Considered to be
You can eliminate that to be.
- They considered him a genius. (More natural than ‘They considered him to be a genius.)
Due to the fact that
Try to express the same idea using the conjunction because.
Each and every
Use each or every. As far as possible, avoid using them both.
Eliminate this Latin abbreviation from your writing.
People are becoming more and more sensitive to gender bias in writing; still, there is no justification for repeating the phrase he/she. If it appears only once or twice, it may not be a problem but it becomes obtrusive if it appears often. Write he or she. Or try to use they.
Firstly, secondly, thirdly
Use first, second and third instead of firstly, secondly and thirdly.
Got is an overworked word. Try to replace it with more precise words and phrases.
Kind of / sort of
You can use these phrases in informal contexts. However, in formal academic prose, you should replace them with somewhat, slightly or rather.
Lots or lots of
These are acceptable in informal English. However, in academic English, you should replace these colloquialisms with plenty of, much, many or a great deal of.
Would of, should of
Write would have and should have.
- I should have sent that parcel. (NOT I should of sent that parcel.)