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Take out the garbage

In order to complete the project, collect plenty of specimens.

What’s lost if you leave out “in order?” Same for “in an effort to” and “is designed to," which sound like maybe you were unsuccessful. Just because something was designed to do something, or was an effort to do it, doesn't mean it happened. No need to cast doubt. Be strong in your conviction!

They serve 20 different kinds of pancakes.

Of course, they’re different. “Kinds” means different.

She spoke to both the fathers and the mothers of her students.

At first, it sounds like “both the fathers,” as in two fathers. It’s not necessary; “both” is implied with “and.”

Per our conversation, enclosed please find an application form.

How about, “As we discussed, I am sending you the enclosed application form.” We do not live in ancient Rome where the locals spoke Latin or on the set of Mad Men.

Intensifiers define the degree of an adjective or another adverb and come before the adjective or adverb they modify -- e.g., very, so, somewhat, quite, rather.

  • Instead of using an intensifier, strengthen the adjective or adverb: “speak aimlessly” becomes “jabber.”

  • If it’s cold, it’s cold. “Very” cold doesn’t make it seem any colder than just plain “cold” does. One newspaper editor suggests using “very” as you would “damn.”

  • “So” should not be used as an intensifier. If you use it to show cause and effect, you also need a "that" (explicit or implied) clause:

Right: The story was so depressing (that) I didn't even want to finish reading it.
Wrong: The story was soooo depressing.

If you're speaking in general terms, you can eliminate “the” in front of a plural noun. If you're speaking specifically, you need the.

Right: My favorite part of the past year's football games is the heat.

Wrong: My favorite part of the football games I attend is the heat.


Trendy trash

That said, that having been said, with that having been said, it is what it is. At the end of the day, trendy is no substitute for clarity of thought – just so we’re on the same page and thinking outside our boxes and comfort zones.

Literally, extremely
Literally means exactly, truly. It does not mean very. Extremely means to an extreme extent and thus has a negative connotation. It does not mean very. For instance, if Susan is extremely cautious in traffic, she probably will end up causing a wreck rather than preventing one.

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