Rail yard background, from the Library of Congress

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Point 21: Unnecessary Modifiers

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

--Mark Twain

In general, avoid the following qualifiers and intensifiers: unique, quite, rather, pretty, really, very, kind of, actually, basically, practically, virtually.

Addressing a subset of this group, E.B. White says, "these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words." Choose words that express your meaning precisely, without the help of these bloodthirsty companions.

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