Minimize the glue words

I have begun reading Plain English for Lawyers. The first chapter gives the reader motivation to continue reading by sharing a story of a judge who orders a hole to be cut in a 177 page legal document. The responsible lawyer then had to wear it around his head as punishment. How humiliating.

Although that was centuries ago, lawyers still need to write more concise. Omit all the fluff. Get to the point. A normal person should be able to read what lawyers write.

The book shares a few examples of experienced lawyers who ruthlessly teach new lawyers the art of written efficiency. Red pens were used to eliminate tons of fluff.

Chapter 2 teaches that a sentence only has 2 types of words: working words and glue words. I bet you can guess which words are which. Writers should use more working words and less glue words.

It’s time for a quick test. How many glue words are in this sentence? Don’t peak below, first identify the glue words. You can do it!


The answer is 2. The words “in” and “this” are considered glue words. The rest of the words in that sentence are working words. Remember to reduce glue words and increase working words.