A lot of editors have a list of words they prefer not to see
at all, prefer to see as little as possible, or prefer to be spelled or used
only in certain ways.  At PBG, our
current list is fluid, simply because sometimes, the wrong word can be used the
right way. 
A few of the throwaway phrases I tend to eye with suspicion,
and then edit out (or not):
To tell the truth
Truth be told
According to
Hard to believe
Going to go
Along with the fact
Of all people
Anything but
What on earth
In the first place
In order to
In particular
Not to mention
No doubt
I’ve got to (and its buddies – We’ve got to, You’ve got to)
As well as
As it was
At least
That’s for sure
Not a word
So in truth
All along
Up to this point/At that point
After all
As far as
Like I said
A done deal
The whole thing
Hard to believe
Worked out well
Overused words I tend to glare menacingly at and then edit
out (or not):
Instead
Actually
Almost
Although
Because
Really
Still
Though
Usually
Like – often used in place of ‘as if’
Spellings we agreed upon at PBG, despite American
thesauruses (thesaurasii?):
OK
All right (not alright)
Sneaked (not snuck)
And if you choose to use British spellings:
Honour
Colour
Moustache
Neighbour
Rumour
Flavour
Another one I look at carefully is the word, ‘realized.”  Usually, when I see it, the sentence is
passive.  One can activate the sentence
easily.  Example:
As James turned the corner, he realized the house was in flames.
A better way:
James turned the corner.  The house
was in flames
.   
As with all things, writing and editing is subjective.  Should the phrase or word be perfect for the
sentence, or the character, I will leave it in. 
Such a phrase that often gets left in is “going to go.”  When it is written as dialogue, it is natural
in American speech.  If it is repeated by
two or three characters in speech, I sometimes edit one out for readability.  Used in a telling sentence, it’ll most likely
be edited out. 

The ‘find’ function (under the edit tab) in MS Word can be quite useful
in giving authors a chance to edit before turning in a submission. 

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