Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Writing Tip # 3 - Overused Words

Mark Twain once said, "Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

He was stating the fact that many people will overuse words such as "very". In fact, just as every poker player has a "tell", every author has a set of words or phrases that they tend to overuse.

Some commonly overused words are: very, it/there, have/had, knew/know, feel/felt/feeling, maybe, just/then, smell/taste, watch/notice/observe, very/nice/great and that.

Since we use these words all the time when we talk, they sneak into our writing and make it boring and repetitive: they become our crutch words when we don’t have anything better to say. Sometimes they're the mark of a generic description, such as "she was very pretty." Once you identify which words you have a tendency to overuse then it will be much easier for you to eliminate them and your copy will improve dramatically.

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