I have recently written articles about plain language, the idea that you can communicate better by keeping your written and spoken language simple.

When you edit your work, an easy way to make your language plainer is to look for things you can cut.

A quick trick is to search for the word, very. You can almost always cut it without losing a thing. And if you can’t, think of a different word. For example, you search your writing for the very, and you find very big. Cut it and think about whether you’ve lost anything. If you have, consider huge. One word less, and one step toward plain language that people read faster and understand better!

Linguists call words like very intensifiers because they strengthen adjectives and adverbs. You can often get rid of other intensifiers too. As you hunt for very, consider cutting absolutely, completely, really, awfully, extremely, so, incredibly, exceedingly, and remarkably.

You will find your prose improves without these redundant words.

Steve Jobs could get away with calling his products insanely great, but it takes a genius to break a rule!

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