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Like a lot of people, I actually have the habit of actually adding a lot of actual padding words when I actually write. A common one I use is actually. These are actually rarely worth keeping, actually, and, when I actually remember, I actually make some actual effort to actually find and actually delete them all.

Is there a list of common padding words and terms that I can download?

This is partly out of curiosity, but partly for checking tools.

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3  
Related: Garbage/Stuff words –  Alenanno Aug 13 '11 at 12:05
    
It should be noted that you can pack your writing with as many of these words as you like, but the editor will remove each and every one of them. –  The Raven Aug 13 '11 at 13:57
3  
There was a study done not long ago about discourse markers. They are apparently very important, not just for a speaker/writer to use, but also for the listeners/readers. They help to organize the mind and to absorb the information. Even non-words like "Uh" and "Um" work to the same effect. –  Phoenix Aug 13 '11 at 21:47
    
@Phoenix - interesting, but I think my habit still overdoes it. That first paragraph is a little exaggerated, but... –  Steve314 Aug 14 '11 at 3:32

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Some context dependent words can be found in Tony1's How to improve your writing, section "Eliminating redundancy":

  • relatively
  • still (as in "While the journal had relatively low circulation numbers for its day, it still influenced popular opinion and was feared by the conservative administration.")

Additive terms

  • also
  • in addition
  • moreover
  • furthermore

Temporal terms

  • over the years
  • currently
  • now
  • from time to time
  • to this day
  • future (as in "They planned their future response".)

Vague terms of size, number and proportion

  • some ("The highway expands to four lanes as it passes some built-up areas of strip development")
  • a variety of
  • a number of
  • several
  • a few
  • many
  • any ("The scheme does not remove any government-funded programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid")
  • all

Words for which the meaning is already conveyed in another word

  • its own ("Each weapon has its own advantages and disadvantages.")
  • in those instances ("In those instances when requests for assistance fall outside Tahirih's scope, staff members attempt to locate other consultants.")
  • subsequently
  • who come

Words for which the meaning is easily recoverable from the context or from general knowledge

  • Resulting ("The cigar smoker burns the dried leaves of the tobacco plant but does not inhale the resulting smoke")

See also Redundancy exercises: removing fluff from your writing.

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These, I believe are called "discourse markers". I can't find a list, but I can think of a list:

Like
Well,
Ok,
Actually,
So You know,
oh, By the way,
Anyway,
Yeah no,
I mean
Now
Then
Frankly,
Also,
Basically,
As a matter of fact
In fact,

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1  
My colleague uses "The point is" all the time –  dheerosaur Aug 13 '11 at 12:18
    
That's another good one. –  Thursagen Aug 13 '11 at 12:21
    
Great list. Basically. –  The Raven Aug 13 '11 at 13:22
1  
I keep catching myself using "apparently." It's really annoying, even to myself...Curse you filler words!!! –  kitukwfyer Aug 13 '11 at 13:56
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My wife has gotten in the habit of prefacing many sentences with "The thing about it is is". Drives me insane. There's no syntactically useful information there at all. –  wfaulk Aug 13 '11 at 17:53

First to Know gives a list of "Five Words that Make You Sound Stupid," adding insult to injury on these pointless discourse markers. The article gives concise explanations of when it is actually appropriate to use these words.

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