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Do you like the sound of

  • “for the reason that”
  • “at this point in time”
  • “it is important to note”?

Do you think “due to the fact that” sounds better than “because”?

Do you think you’ve convinced the reader when you say, “My client is clearly innocent of all charges and undeniably a victim of harassment”?

Are you afraid to stray too far from phrases like

  • “make, ordain, constitute, and appoint”
  • “rights, title, and interest”
  • “legally binding and enforceable”
  • “represent, warrant, covenant”?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, then this tip is for you.

Throat-clearing, empty, and bulky words and phrases weigh your reader down. Empty adverbs make your reader skeptical. (If you have to tell me that the client is clearly innocent, then clearly he might not be.)

Legal twins and triplets worry readers. They think, “Did I miss something?” “Do I have to do something more to make the agreement both legally binding and enforceable?”

To strip away these clarity blockers and lighten your reader’s load, you first have to recognize the culprits you habitually use.

Review the lists of throat-clearing or empty words and phrases, bulky words and phrases, and legal twins and triplets, and select the ones you know deep down attract you. As you edit, keep the list available and look for the phrases you selected. Most most likely, unnecessary verbiage will leap out at you, shouting to be removed.