NB: These pages were mostly written in 2001 or so. The résumé dates are accurate but the code is aged and unlike whiskey, 8 year-old code doesn't usually taste better. For a look at my current skills and to see my CPAN modules, sample code, and code discussions, please see these pages instead: Perl resources and sample code and PangyreSoft.
Phrases and words to avoid
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Why avoid clichés and trite phrases?

It is easy to parrot. It’s difficult not to do it. More writing equals better writing is a pernicious fallacy seeded in schoolkids’ squishy gray by word-count measured assignments. The opposite is usually true. If a point can be made in 10 words, don’t use 50. It doesn’t make a piece of writing sound better, it just wastes the attention required to communicate effectively.

Using the kinds of phrases and words below isn’t a crime but it will make your writing wasteful and hollow. Avoiding them helps get your ideas to your readers clearly.

A safe prescription: The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style is a perennial seller going on 91 years. Its simple, direct, unaffected advice can help any writer with almost any style of writing. Here is a public domain copy of the original version: The Elements of Style (1918).

A brief survey of the bugbears

It seems to me; it just might turn out; I wouldn’t be surprised if...
Vacillation and pointless qualification weakens writing. Be bold. Temerity in writing is no more attractive than it is in party conversation. Even if you’re wrong in the end, bold is better.
Oddly enough
If it is really oddly enough, it will be obvious. Pointing out irony or coincidence weakens the power of writing. Show, don’t tell.
Utilize and utilization
“Use” is your friend. Use the verb—enjoy the noun’s use. Extra letters add no meaning, emphasis, or distinction. Writing to sound like a bigshot is like boasting to appear humble. It gets in the way of any underlying truth.
A lot, very, quite, really, and friends
Infrequent use of these filler words usually sharpens the impact of writing. Bluntness is stronger than exaggeration. Constant emphasis becomes the white noise of crying wolf.
Ascertain the location of, not withstanding the fact that, in actual point of fact, ad nauseum
Call it Pseudo legalese. It’s redundant, self-important nonsense. Instead of demonstrating a writer’s command of language it reveals a lack of understanding.

The thumbnail

If it’s a turn of phrase you’ve heard repeatedly, don’t repeat it. If it doesn’t add to the writing, don’t write it. If taking it out doesn’t change the meaning, take it out.

Glomming onto pieces of popular culture is like any transient fashion. It buries you in fluff and engraves Also Ran on the headstone.

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