24 lazy, meaningless verbs to ban

Replace them with these much stronger alternatives.


A common problem with corporate writing is that it’s full of lazy, meaningless verbs. Utilize, implement, leverage—these words litter our writing and weaken our message.

“We are leveraging our core competencies to meet our customers needs.”

I stopped reading when I saw the word “leveraging.”

The verb is the powerhouse of your sentence. Choose clear, active verbs instead of throwaway ones. I hereby call for a ban on the following verbs from corporate writing, press releases, social media, and websites. Try these alternatives instead.

Instead of … Try …
accompany go with
ballpark estimate
commence begin
consolidate join
dialogue talk
disambiguate clear up
disseminate give, send
endeavor try
enumerate count
facilitate lead, help
ideate think
implement carry out, start
incentivize motivate
interface talk
leverage use, take advantage of
modify change
operationalize start, use
optimize improve
peruse read
promulgate issue, publish
regarding about
remunerate pay
synergize work together
utilize use

Readers, what verbs would you ban?

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. Read more of her work at Impertinent Remarks.

(Image via)

COMMENT

Ragan.com Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive the latest articles from Ragan.com directly in your inbox.