Truly. Not Your Friend


One Word (Truly) Dilutes Your Message

As someone who is almost entirely aural (i.e., My primary intake pathway is my ears…) I am highly sensitive to noise.

When this ‘noise’ comes in the form of words cluttering a sentence and detracting from what the writer or speaker is seeking to accomplish, I flag it for myself (and my poor husband.)

Today I’m flagging a pet peeve for you.

Before I begin, however, a disclaimer:

I am aware I often fall short of the beauty inherent in Strunk and White’s Elements of Style.

That said, we all need things to which we can aspire, and uncluttered writing is mine.


I was looking through various websites the other day and was struck over and over by the use—let’s say the injection—of the word “truly” in various sentences.

2 examples follow:

“X’s market expertise, coupled with his superior negotiating skills, truly set him apart from the rest.

“…allowing you to learn how to truly achieve a deep state of focus…”

In both these cases, the addition of “truly” had the opposite effect from the one I believe the writers intended.

Rather than believing more firmly in X’s capabilities or the probability of achieving the deep state of focus, I lost faith in both.

So, the next time you long to make your point more emphatically, try adding “truly” and taking it away.

It will make a difference.

(Should you doubt me, add “truly” to the above and note how the impact dribbles away….)


(Not “truly” yours; I would never want you to doubt how much you mean to me.)