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Jodie's Blogs

Words To Avoid In Writing

My husband teases me because it makes me laugh when people use the word 'literally'. It's a filler word. It has no real meaning to it, if you think about it. There are several of those words. Like these I have listed below that I try to avoid in writing, some of them for the same reason I don't use the word literally in my writing.


Words that go right along with literally would be actually, basically, essentially, totally, and figuratively.


Non-descriptive, incredibly boring words like nice and interesting. These are words that have a broader sense of description. If you use Microsoft Word, there is a cool trick to right click on a word and go to synonyms. It will show other words that mean the exact thing. Nice, for instance, you can replace with pleasant or lovely. You can replace interesting with fascinating or intriguing. Other words that can fit into this category would be great, awesome, maybe even amazing.


Redundancy can also easily slip in with words like and also and each and every.


Words that add to word count when one word will do: as to whether (drop as to and leave whether), considered to be (drop to be and leave considered), so as to (drop so as and leave to), and try and (this doesn't even make sense–drop and, leave try). The following can all be replaced by the word because: being that or being as, due to the fact that, on account of, and the reason why is because. Replace with the word 'because' and be done with it already!


Other filler words adding to word count that can be removed are words such as very, really and quite. I'm guilty of slipping these in without realizing it. Remove them and your sentences will be quite fine or remove them and your sentences will be fine. Which sounds better in your head?


Unless you're writing a legal document, it isn't necessary to use and/or and per.


Almost as bad as literally in my book of no-no's is the word like. I'm not talking about "I like summer." The word like was originally used as an adjective to describe something in comparison. The sun is like a friendly smile, peeking through the clouds after so many days of gloom. Now, the word is a painful interjection dominating conversations like everywhere and like I'm so tired of it. Ouch!


Keep in mind, when I talk about most of these words, I'm excluding dialogue where a character may use poor grammar or slang, or even redundant words in speech. Things like this might make your character more believable and real. I'm talking about the narrative. Don't hijack your own writing!

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