I’ve been helping others become better writers since 1998. My years of experience since that time convinces me that the failure to distinguish between spoken English and written English is the primary influence upon writers to include unnecessary words in their writing.
One of the most common examples, especially among technical communicators, is the use of the fact is. It’s an expression that is very common in spoken English. And yet in written English, the fact is doesn’t add anything or provide any essential function in conveying meaning between writer and reader. In almost all instances, writers can remove the fact is from their sentences.
Take for instance the example sentence in the graphic above. If we remove the fact is, we get this:
In some cases, the fact is may appear to provide a buffer or transition between ideas in adjacent sentences. This is in fact why the fact is appears in spoken English. It gives our brains time to catch up with the mouth of whoever is speaking.
But that isn’t needed in written English, since each reader will process written words at a slower rate than spoken ones. In certain informal contexts, the fact is may actually serve an added purpose. But in professional contexts such as technical writing, the fact is serves no purpose other than filler material. In those circles, you don’t need the fact is.
All else being equal, better writing conveys the same essential message with fewer words. Better writing makes you a better writer. And better writers convey a better reputation for the brands they represent.