5 Words to Remove to Improve Your Writing

1. Assist — This word has positive connotations — its popularity isn’t surprising. It sounds a little stuffy, though. It’s good to keep it in your vocabulary, but alternate it with shorter and sweeter “aid,” “serve,” or “help,” depending on the meaning of the sentence and how it reads.

2. Utilize — It’s a little complex for plain English. As “Grammar Girl” Mignon Fogarty has said, “‘Utilize’ has some specific, appropriate uses. Biological organisms are properly said to ‘utilize’ nutrients. If you’re a general writer, however, it’s usually best to stick with ‘use.'”

3. Implement — It sounds important, and depending on its use as a noun or a verb, it can be hard to visualize its meaning. It’s not a verb for the lazy; it’s often used to mean “to put into use” or “to complete,” in the sense that a business has met a goal. So, for variety, “perform,” “complete,” “finish,” or if you’re not too harsh, “execute.”

4. Establish — It has its place. Sometimes “found,” in the sense that someone starts something, such as a business, works better.

5. Accomplish — Another lofty word, the simpler alternative, “achieve,” can also show results.


“People who work in specialized fields seem to have their own language. Practitioners develop a shorthand to communicate among themselves. The jargon can almost sound like a foreign language.” ~ Barry Ritholtz

“There are two rules to good communication — say what you mean and mean what you say.” ~ Tim Phillips, Talk Normal: Stop the Business Speak, Jargon and Waffle

Comments? Suggestions? Need help? Feel free to contact me.

Michelle Troutman