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In Other Words: How to Use This Simple Phrase for Writing More Powerful Content

“In other words.” I love this simple phrase for writing more powerful content.

It’s an expression lets you subtly repeat your point. And it gives you an excuse to explain your point another way. 

Odds are that any time you explain something, a significant percentage of readers struggle to follow along. And when they get confused, you know what happens? They give up – they click off, they toss the page, or they shut down their screen.

But when your reader sees that little phrase, “In other words,” she subliminally realizes, Hey, it’s okay that I didn’t get it the first time. I’ve got another chance. Or maybe the reader skimmed over your first point and now, his eyes catch the phrase, “In other words,” and he thinks, I’ll read this point here and I’ll be caught up.

In other words, there’s tremendous persuasive power in repetition. The more a reader is exposed to a point – the more you repeat the point – the more familiar it becomes. 

How To Use This Simple Phrase for Writing More Powerful Content

Insert “In other words” into your content in order to …

1. Summarize your idea

Distill a lengthy, complicated, or confusing point into a succinct summary

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey.  In other words, she sat down and had a snack. 

2. Reinforce your idea

Use a synonym to say the same point but in a slightly different way.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey. In other words, she sat on a stool while she ate a bowl of cottage cheese.

3. Clarify your idea

Restate your point so that your reader doesn’t misunderstand.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey.  In other words, she was minding her own business during snack time.

4. Expand your idea

Add to your original point with more detail.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey.  In other words, she sat on a stool – not a clump of grass – and snacked on a particular kind of soft cheese.

5. Make the idea more memorable

Make your point a second time with an illustration, comparison, contrast, interesting fact, testimonial, or quote.

Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, eating her curds and whey.  In other words, she was eating cottage cheese, which is a byproduct of the cheese making process comprised of both lumps and liquid.

Eight Other Ways To Write “In Other Words”

Use these variations of “In other words” to write more powerful content.

  • Put Differently
  • Put Another Way
  • Put It Simply
  • This Means
  • What I Mean Is
  • That Is
  • In Plain English
  • Simply Stated

In other words, you don't have to use the same phrase in order to repeat yourself.

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