Writing Skills: Prefer Understatement

It may sound counter-intuitive, but using emphatic language can sometimes weaken your argument rather than strengthen your argument. By contrast, understatement has much more persuasive force. Look at the following list of emphatic words and phrases and think about whether you really need them in your writing.


Tip: If you're serious about improving your writing, one of the best ways is to improve your vocabulary — not so you know how to use big words, but so you can choose the right word at the right time to convey your meaning precisely and simply. To improve your vocabulary, we highly recommend you try the popular vocabulary-improvement software called Ultimate Vocabulary. Click Ultimate Vocabulary for details.*


Think twice about including the following words and phrases in your writing.

  • absolutely
  • abundantly
  • acutely
  • assuredly
  • certainly
  • completely
  • decidedly
  • definitely
  • diametrically
  • doubtlessly
  • eminently
  • emphatically
  • exactly
  • extremely
  • incredibly
  • indisputably
  • inevitably
  • inherently
  • interestingly
  • it is obvious that
  • necessarily
  • no doubt
  • obviously
  • of course
  • purely
  • surely
  • there can be no question that
  • totally
  • truly
  • unduly
  • unequivocally
  • unmistakably
  • unquestionably
  • very
  • wholly

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Last modified on Saturday, 28 November 2015 08:41
English Language Skills (Troy)

English Language Skills (Troy)

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