Content toolkit: Unnecessary word list


Replace complex phrases


Complex words and phrases make your web copy difficult to understand. When you do a copy editing pass, look for ways to simplify by replacing two and three-word phrases with pared-down versions.

Plainlanguage.gov suggests that:

Using simple and familiar words where possible doesn't insult your readers' intelligence but emphasizes clarity rather than formality. Save longer or complex words for when they are essential.

Download the Unnecessary Word List (PDF).

When you copy edit, look for ways to replace two and three-word phrases with pared-down versions. Click To Tweet

Further reading

Web writing best practices: Keep it lean
Content toolkit: Copy editing checklist
Content toolkit: Substantive editing checklist