Now, I am not telling you to cut ALL of them. I am guilty of some myself and especially (adverb! Cut the lys!) in YA dialogue "I just can't cut that just, really!" But reducing as many as possible will not only help reduce your word-count, it many cases it makes the story better readable as well.
I usually just read a sentence in question and if it works without - than it's history. Well, everywhere besides speech ;)
The following are the first that should go through the find and replace (with a fluff of air) function:
Nope, I don't always manage.
So, I was really surprised just how many of them I found and how bluntly my characters refuse to talk without these. We just had a discussion the other day, I honestly don't need another discussion.
Was and were: eliminate these in every possible occurrence as it is in most cases passive voice and you you should try to keep the percentage as low as possible.
We all know that the ly are devil's spawn and need to be killed as the infection can be severe. But did you know that instead is one of the words editors hate most?! Not allowed to compare mmh? Well, fact is describing helps!
Here are some more should you get bored: about, almost, appears, approximately, basically, close to, eventually, exactly, finally, just then, nearly, practically, somewhat, suddenly, truly, utterly.
Once you are done with the above and your thats, skim over the and ands as well - found they are sometimes useless (oh beware of the less ness as well!).
And finally (oh blunder!) I try to get rid of some ings too while I'm at it.
Speech tags: I have been told to remove as many as possible as well. Problem there: MY characters don't just talk, there's most of the time some action involved, so I can't take that away from them (NO, I CAN'T!! Already took names away from them for heaven's sake)
Alas one thing is true - some of these actions or descriptions can be cut: I mean a heart tends to beat in the chest, right? So we can delete the chest. And since the mouth is in your face it's natural that a smile would spread there. So we don't need to explain to a reader where the smile sits, correct?
I hate it when I discover those things though. Haven't I been poetic and first draft?! Wonder who wrote the latest version... "Find and replace" most likely.
At about that time something pops up and I rewrite a scene - and start the above all over...
Therefore - Happy trimming!