Here is a list of tips I check whenever I write anything:

  1. check for any misspelled words using spellcheck
  2. replace contractions with complete words (eg, don’t –> do not)
  3. replace abbreviations with complete words (eg, “e.g.” –> for example)
  4. replace colloquialisms with more formal words (eg, nowadays –> recently)
  5. i, we, our, us, you, your –> rewrite sentence (almost always)
  6. in order to/for –> to/for
  7. clearly, obviously –> remove, might not be so clear/obvious to everyone
  8. this, they, it –> be specific, which noun this/they/it is referring to is often vague
  9. very –> use a stronger adjective/adverb
  10. data is –> data are
  11. novel –> remove, novelty should be implied by context. If it is not clear by context, update context
  12. most/least/best/worst/better/worse/optimal/*est: requires a citation as it is an empirical claim, or evidence, and a dimension along which the comparison is made
  13. usually –> same deal, either provide a citation/evidence, or don’t say it, replace with “frequently”
  14. no reason / essential/necessary / no way / impossible –> remove, these are all too strong, just because you haven’t thought of a reason, or a counter example, or another way, does not mean that nobody else has/can.
  15. done –> completed.
  16. utilized –> used
  17. firstly –> first, and similarly for second, third, etc.
  18. & –> and
  19. arguably –> possibly, likely, perhaps (why argue with your reader?)
  20. as such –> ok sparsely, but often overused, check and revise sentences.
  21. numbers have space before unit, eg 1GB –> 1 GB.
  22. first –> somebody reading this will think they did it first, and they are at least partially correct. firstness should be implied by context.
  23. in this manuscript –> nothing, it is implied.
  24. a priori –> should be italics
  25. is used –> rewrite sentence, avoid passive tense whenever possible
  26. can be seen –> typically just remove, sometimes replace with “shows”, or reword sentences
  27. we want to –> we (though should be reworded to avoid “we” entirely)
  28. Fig, Fig., fig –> Figure (or at least be consistent)
  29. we chose appropriate –> we chose (let them decide whether it was appropriate)
  30. “note that” or “we note that” or “we highlight” or “we highlight that” –> simply remove.