17 December 2014

Phrases You Can Replace with One Word


The use of many words when fewer would do, especially in an attempt to be vague or evasive.
(Oxford Dictionaries)


I don't know about you, but there are times when long, drawn-out phrases seem appropriate. At other times I prefer my writing to be short, sweet and to the point. Here are a few phrases I come across on a regular basis which can be replaced with just one word:

Instead of:                                  Try:

with the exception of                   except
with reference to                          about
until such time                             until
under the provisions of                under
provides guidance for                  provides
pertaining to                                about
no later than                                 by
in the near future                        shortly, soon
in the event                                   if
in the amount of                           for
afford an opportunity                   allow, let
as a means to                               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                      promptly, quickly
in accordance with                     by, following, per
in advance of                             before
in regard to                                about, concerning

Piper is the author of military lifestyle books and RV travel journals. When she isn't busy typing away on her computer, she can be found chasing after her furry children or holding on tightly to a good cup of coffee. Follow her on LinkedInFacebookGoodreads and Google+.


  1. This is a great blog! Thank you for sharing.

  2. How about: mutual exchange of personal views: conversation. Alternatively, hostile exchange of mutual views: row or argument...

  3. A friend was struggling to get his dissertation to fit the 24000 limit. We used find and replace to change his uses of "in order to" to "to". That purged about 300 words immediately.

  4. In the 'old days' speech and writing dragged with phraseology and people thought that the more words a person used, the more reason to listen to or read. It is not that we have lost anything by shortening our word usage it is called the evolution of communication.

  5. Hello Piper:

    Thanks for posting this useful list for writers and editors. I would like to add by sharing the circumlocution list in my FREE eBook: Write Like A Pro. The chart on page 50 presents 48 one-word replacements that complement your list. (smile)

    Wishing you continue success. Happy Holidays!!

    1. Thank you, Marcia for sharing this information! Happy Holidays! =)

  6. Happy Holidays Piper - this is a great list. But I have to say I particularly enjoyed the image: the bed as a "horizontal tranquility terminal" - I guess every language has this kind of problem - certainly so in French and Italian. Those Italian women in the 19th century who were very prude called an ass, the "fondeschiena ove sedersi" which roughly translates as the "end of the spine where you may sit". And I've worked at the United Nations for 25 years, and I can tell you that circumlocutions were so prevalent in all our reports that we'd even come to describe the English language in which we wrote as "UN-ese"...So, yes, you're right, there's nothing like "good and short"!

    1. Thank you, Claude for your very entertaining and insightful comment! Happy Holidays! =)

  7. Thanks for the list of phrases. It can also be used in the opposite direction, for example to make an essay longer.;)

    1. You're welcome, Angela! You make a good point...I haven't thought about that one. =)