Hedging: It’s Fairly, Relatively, Kind of a Problem

I read a quote in the newspaper today:

If it would be fairly easy to relatively quickly get a fairly similar job with a fairly similar salary, that makes it almost a no-brainer.

Granted, the example is of someone speaking–not writing–but it is a good illustration of what not to do when communicating: hedge.

Hedging is using words such as fairly, relatively, rather, kind of, practically, and almost. Those words deaden a sentence. They sap it of confidence, power, and interest.

Here is a simple revision without all the qualifiers:

When it is easy to get a similar job with a similar salary, it’s a no-brainer.

The Microsoft grammar and spelling checker flags fairly and really, but for the other hedge words, you need to watch for them yourself. Luckily, it’s fairly easy to rather quickly find them.

Syntax Training

P.S. I hope you caught my hedging in the last sentence!