Search This Blog

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Writing Wednesday - Pesky Words

To some writers editing is a dreaded part of writing, others look forward to it.

I like editing, because that is when I attempt to make  my so-so manuscript into a better story.

I am not very good with grammar. I sometimes have a tendency to write the way I talk.

One aid to editing I use a lot is the find button. It is very helpful in locating those troublesome overused words.

When my manuscript is complete. I click on the find button and search for those troublesome words.


down and up - If the verb implies down or up, "down" and "up" are unnecessary words.
example: "He stood up," should be "He stood."

out - If the verb implies out, "out" is unnecessary.
example: "The cloth was spread out over the table," should be "The cloth was spread over the table."

began and started -
example: "He lifted his pencil and started to write," should be "He lifted his pencil and wrote."

to the  and to be often causes wordiness.
example: "He gave her the key to the house," should be "He gave her the house key."

suddenly is seldom needed.
example: "Suddenly the bull lurched forward," should be "The bull lurched forward."

could and would
example:  change "He could see her" to "He saw her."

that is a word we all overuse. Sometimes it is necessary and sometimes it is not. Try the sentence without it and see if it means the same.

just is another word we all overuse.

was and other linking verbs. Try using a stronger action verb.

Since I started writing, I catch myself editing everything I read. It drives me crazy.

I have a tendency to use that and just a lot. Another word I use a lot is it. Instead of stating what I am talking about, I say it. I have been told this is not always a good thing.

What word or words do you overuse?


  1. Thank you for reminding me of this. I have a bad habit of using these words. It helped a lot..

  2. Oh I'm definitely in the "just" club. Another one I catch is "was." It seems I use "was" more when I'm tired, it's an easy out instead of putting more thought into a passage. But I do like editing, it's a way of layering and shining those words.

  3. I use the word "that" too much. I grew up in the coal fields of WVA. I finished high school. It took me years to get away from the coal field slang. After high school I moved to Ronoke VA , got a job and an apartment. Folks down there got a kick out of the way I slaughtered the english language


  4. I should have edited that.I used too many sentences to make a point.

  5. That last comment was me, shirley

  6. I have to agree and disagree with you. I'm a professional writer (not that that means much...oops!), and my clients are not shy when I slip, which is far too often.

    My thing is commas: too many. On the other hand, many writers tend to forget that commas do indeed signal pauses, much like like the various musical cadence cues (I have many other foibles of the written kind).

    Also, we tend to mimic speech when we write. This is a good thing, in that it almost makes the reader "hear" you, as if you are in the room. This use of colloquialism in writing is, in mind view, a good thing that can take a boring topic and make it sing.

    My best advice is to

  7. I use the word "also" way too much. I one time looked up from writing and found that I'd started four separate paragraphs with the word.

    My editing process starts with striking all unnecessary words and fixing typos.

  8. So, even just writing this or that makes me smile! Another one is nod your head--what else do you nod? Or how about she thought to herself? Hello, who else is in your head? Fun post, Janet!

  9. Excellent post! I mess up on the could and would all the time. I try to catch most of these during edits.
    It's so nice to meet you!

  10. Very good writing post, Janet!

  11. This was a wonderfully informative post sweetie. Just~~is the word I edit over and over again.

    God bless ya and have a marvelous day!!! :o)

  12. Everyone's writing can be improved if they want to work at it, but editing is probably the hardest part to master. BTW, you live in a beautiful state. I should know, I live there, too!

  13. Janet,
    I received the book "CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS".Your story, "SANTA'S HAT" was very sweet.I was brought up by my Grandparents and I miss them everyday. Grandma and all her aprons, I wish I had one, like you have the Santa hat.
    Nancy Jo

  14. Thanks everyone for your comments. Nancy Jo, I am so glad you liked Christmas Traditions, I love all the stories that are in it, too.

  15. Thanks for joining me Janet! Kind regards, Carole.

  16. I'm not sure about writing but I know I use um and so way to much when I talk.

  17. Interesting and has me thinking of how often I use words over and over.
    I was wondering do you have a special program downloaded on your computer where you can edit like this. It would be very helpful for me.

  18. Janet -- Where is that darn "find" button? What app;ication are you using? I need an editor! I overuse many words -- need to make a list for myself. Thanks for the good post -- barbara

  19. Maggie and Barbara, there is no special program for using the find button. There are a few ways to do it. Up at the top menu bar click on edit and find will come up below it as one of the options. Click on find and a box will come up (usually at the bottom of your computer page) Type in the word you want to find and push enter. The word you typed will be highlighted in your manuscript. Keep pushing the enter button until it has finished searching your manuscript. You can also just push Ctrl F and a box will show up for you to type your word in that you want to find. I hope this helps, if not let me know.

  20. I didn't even know about the find button-thank you. My word I use way too much is just.

  21. I have a list of 'forbidden' words pinned to the noticeboard above my desk. That list gets longer every day.

    I'm just the same in that I just can't stop using the word just. It just slips in...


Thank you for stopping by. I love comments! Leave one and brighten my day. If you are signing as Anonymous, please sign your name, so I will know who you are.