How to Remove Flabby Expressions From Sentences

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Flabby expressions generally refer to extra words that prevent your writing from having clear, strong and simple elements and having a lean sound and structure. Flabby expressions allow your writing to stay inexact, filling your text with unnecessary words and sounds. Flabby expressions often contain trite, overused words that tell the reader virtually nothing. For example, the expression, "I'm fine," is a lucid instance of a flabby expression that's virtually unavoidable in common conversation. Removing flabby expressions from your speech will force you to take your writing to a higher level.

Read your work carefully. Underline all long winded phrases that you can shorten through word replacement. Common phrases are things like "Due to the fact", "As a general rule" or "In the event that". These sentences might feel smart and formal, but they truly prevent your writing from reaching a higher level.

Underneath each flabby expression, write simple words that you can use that mean the same thing. For example, you can replace "As a general rule" with "Generally" or "Mostly" or "Usually," and "Due to the fact" with "Because" or "As a result"

Circle the replacement word you like best and rewrite with that word. Circle any inexact or vague words in your writing, such as words like "fine", "good", "nice" or comparable words. Write suitable replacement words underneath them, such as "Inspiring," "Pleasant," "Memorable" and other such descriptive words.

Circle the replacement word you like best and use that one.


  • "Business Communication: Process and Product"; Mary Ellen Guffey, et al; 2011

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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