If you can cut it, you probably don’t need it: meaningless phrases

Something we do a lot as editors is cut meaningless phrases and word out of various manuscripts. As a result, we have some pronounced ideas about phrases that can just be eliminated from books altogether. Here are some examples:

As fate would have it
Fate always has it. There seems little point in telling the reader about it. An exception to this is when things turn out differently from hopes or expectations as:
I prayed for sunshine that day, but as fate would have it, it poured.

The use of this word is usually redundant. How is I really thought he did a good job different from I thought he did a good job?

As a matter of fact or In fact
Unless, you, the writer are in the habit of lying to your reader, isn’t everything you write a matter of fact, at least as far as you know it? Even if you write fiction, you usually are making an honest attempt to convey something to the reader.

Let’s start at the beginning
Where else would you start?

That said
If it was just said, you don’t need to point to it. The reader has read it.

In order to
This is just pompous, three words when the simple preposition “to” will do:
I put on my boots in order to go out.
I put on my boots to go out.

One way to stop yourself from using meaningless phrases in your writing is to follow George Orwell’s third rule for effective writing. He wrote six, which appeared in his 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language." The third rule is: "If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out."

Review what you have written. If you can cut out a phrase and your sentence still has all its meaning and descriptiveness, then you don’t need the phrase. Probably the sentence is clearer and cleaner without it.