20 phrases you can replace with one word

Circumlocution is the use of many words when one or two will do. It’s a scourge of corporate writing. Here’s how to avoid it.



Circumlocution is so prevalent in today’s corporate writing that we may not even notice it.

In case you’re unfamiliar, circumlocution is the use of many words when one will do. For example, writing “at this point in time” when “now” will work.

As PR Daily publisher Mark Ragan often points out at his seminars, readers have “an incredibly shrinking attention span.” As writers and editors, we need to communicate as clearly and concisely as possible. One way we can do this—avoid circumlocution.

Here are some examples:

Instead of Try

afford an opportunity allow, let
as a means of to
at this point in time now
due to the fact that because
during the period during
has a requirement for needs
in a timely manner quickly, promptly
in accordance with by, following, per, under
in advance of before
in regard to about, concerning, on
in the amount of for
in the event that if
in the near future shortly, soon
no later than June 1 by June 1
pertaining to about
provides guidance for guides
under the provisions of under
until such time as until
with reference to about
with the exception of except

Readers, any examples of circumlocutory writing that you would like to share?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She is also the author of the blog impertinentremarks.com.

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COMMENT

3 Responses to “20 phrases you can replace with one word”

    Adriana Montes says:

    i think this is a great thing for us students that need to look up phrases that can replace the word there looking for.

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