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I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Over Used Words

In revising and editing much is said about over used words or words to avoid. In my struggle to revise I realized I wanted/needed a list. In fact, I thought I had one, but I couldn't find it. I scoured the Internet and asked Angela at The Bookshelf Muse if she knew of a list. Even she had trouble finding anything complete.

Well...after quite a search I have compiled the following list. It is for the use of any writer who needs it. Copy it, if you want. I'm going to dedicate a "page" to it. If you have any additions please email me and I'll add them.

I'm also starting a list of over used phrases. If you have any, send them on as well. Then we'll have it all in one place, right here for easy access.

Okay kids, get out your Thesauri (Thesauruses?)


OVER USED WORDS
a lot
absolutely
actually
all
almost
although
always
amazing
and
anxiously
any
as (particularly starting a sentence)
awesome
awfully
bad
beautiful
because
be
been
being
began
begin
believe
better
big
boring
bring
but (contrasting)
by
cause
certain
change
chiefly
choose
could
could have
crossed
decent
definitely
eagerly
easy/easily
effective
emphasize
end
energy
enjoy
entire
especially
even
every
excellent
exciting
far
fast
fat
feel/feeling/felt
fill
finally
fine
finish
frequently
fun
funny
gasp(ed)
get/got
give
go
gone
good
great
guy
had/had been
happy
hard
have/have been
have got/have to
hear/heard
help
hope/hopefully
hurt
if
important
incredible
interesting
it
job
just
kid
kind/kind of
knew/know
leave/left
like (adj)
like (verb)
little
look/looked
lots
mad
main
make
many
maybe
mean
merely
more
near/nearly
need
never
new
next
nice
not
notice/noticed
observe/observed
often
old
only
open
part
perfect
plan
pleasant
pretty
probably
prove
quick/quickly
quite
ran/run
really
roaring
rolled her/his eyes (I picture marbles!)
said
same
scared
see/saw
seem/seemed/seems
shimmering
short
since
skinny
small
smell/smelled
smile/smiled
so
some
sometimes
suddenly
take
tall
taste
terrific
that
then
there/there was
thereafter
therefore
think
totally
truly
try
turn/turned away (in anger, disgust, etc.)
use/used
usually
very
viciously
walked/hurried away/toward
was
watch
want
well
went
were (especially followed by an “ing” word)
when
which
wonderful
you

To be verbs
is/are/was/were: passive as in: “The boy was laughing.” Active: “The boy laughed.”

17 comments:

  1. What an excellent idea Bish! I found quite a few of my favourites on the list! Another word I use a lot (don't ask me why, it is a favourite crutch word of mine!) is "eye" or "eyes".

    Also "for her" (or "for him").

    But you've complied a pretty comprehensive list and I'll be checking against it regularly!
    Judy (South Africa)

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  2. Happy Presidents’ Pets Day - the day after Presidents' Day, as I like to call it. See my blog for a good ol' howl.

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  3. I think most of us have one or two words that are our personal overused ones. During the portion of the revision in which I'm specifically trying to reduce length, I have a phase in which I search for each and every use of the word "just" and eliminate 95% of them. Since that often means editing the whole sentence, that phase is usually a big jump toward my target wordage.

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  4. Wow! Great, helpful list, Bish! I overuse looked. A lot! I did a word cloud of my manuscript to see what words were biggest (used the most) and changed the verbs that were overused.

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  5. Ha! Well, I guess I better just ditch my whole ms. because it's filled with all of them. My biggest one truly, is BUT. Don't know why, but it is. See. Can't even not use it.

    In my last ms. a friend did a wordle cloud for me and guess what my most overused word was --- coffee. Can you believe it? And I don't even drink it. Amazing.

    Great list.

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  6. Great list! I especially love that you pointed out the weakness of states of being at the end.

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  7. Um, wow! That is one huge and scary list. I think I need to go get me some hot chocolate after reading that, maybe take a bubble bath and give my manuscript a good scrub down too.

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  8. Wow, that's a great list. The words I overuse are "this," "really," and "but."

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  9. I've added a few from your list to my list and now I have a much more complete set of words to cull from my manuscripts. Thanks as always, Bish.

    The only thing I disagree with is calling "The boy was laughing" a passive. "The boy was laughed at by the girls" is passive. "The boy was laughing" is present progressive tense which isn't terrible exciting and shouldn't be used too much.

    Great visit here, but I expected that. :-)

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  10. love the list! And yep I overuse but.

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  11. Oh my! I'm guilty of quite a few.

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  12. What a great list! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Quite the list. I have one saved in a word doc. that I can use while revising.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

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  14. Man, that's quite a list! Are there any words left to use?!

    One of my pet peeves that I swear shows up in every single MG and YA novel is perch/perched. I am tired of people, houses and other inanimate objects being perched somewhere. Perching is for the birds :)

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  15. This is wonderful, Bish! Ah yes, we all have our little favorites. Mine are on your list, of course. When I'm writing that first draft full speed ahead, my favorite words fall out all over the place. Then it's clean up time. Thanks for this!

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  16. Great list! I tend to use "really" a lot in my personal writing (luckily, not as often in my fiction!).

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  17. Thanks so much for putting this together! I'll be tweeting this tomorrow!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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Your Random Thoughts are most welcome!