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  • Jordan Keller

What I Learned At Writing Group: Filler Words


This will be the easiest thing you can do to elevate your writing: Deleting filler words.


A filler word is any unnecessary word that overcomplicates your sentence, states something that’s implied and usually makes your writing passive. (We’ll cover passive voice next week!)


I didn’t realize how many filler words I used until a friend highlighted them. In one chapter I saw more highlighter yellow than printed page. Oops.


Here’s a list of words you can ALMOST always delete from your writings without changing the meaning of the sentence. Of course, take each word with a grain of salt and watch out for your dialogue. Most of these words are conversational and used when we speak.


Very. (While you’re at it, change your Very Verb to a better verb. Very hungry becomes starving.)

Even.

Just.

Seem.

So.

That.

Had.


Some examples of filler words stating the obvious are:


Jacob saw the dog with his eyes.


Of course he saw the dog with his eyes.


I listened to the song with my ears.


Of course you listened with your ears.


She watched as the train pulled up to the station.


The sentence reads the same without “as” so you can yank it out of there for a smoother, more concise sentence. Make sure you swap your verb to active tense if you do. The new sentence would be: She watched the train pull up to the station.


It seems like an easy trick to do, but trust me. Deleting your filler words is super important.

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