10 Words to Avoid When Writing

Writing is a combination of art and craft. The art comes from much reading, talking, thinking, dreaming, and writing. The craft is primarily technique. Some techniques are complex, but a few are very simple and will instantly strengthen your writing. In many cases, however, strengthening writing simply means avoiding those things that weaken it.

We have identified 10 words that nearly always weaken writing. In no particular order, they are as follows.


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3 Responses to 10 Words to Avoid When Writing

  1. Nathan S. says:

    I really think I have improved at avoiding those words, more than I used to. Sometimes you feel as though it’s just easier to sort of forget about them, but a lot of people reallly take notice.

  2. suitepotato says:

    Do you really feel and think as a lot of other people do, soft of like you’re just used to doing?

  3. suitepotato says:

    As a off and on writer myself, I caution people who aspire to writing to do two main things when considering how to structure dialogue and the gunk in between.

    1. Read other writers and see which style makes it easier for you to flow through the work, instead of having to break style. Read what others find popular and see what those flow like. Then be prepared to change your own style on the fly to match the characters. Which leads to…

    2. Always write the character dialogue as if it was being spoken. Too few people do this. While written and spoken speech are different, you’re recording spoken speech. So write it as they would have said it.

    Additionally, ignore weak word lists like this, and instead worry about going to extremes of constant repetition on the one hand and constantly changing like you’re exhausting a thesaurus on the other. Try to maintain balance by selecting a small number of different ways of putting something and cycle through them somewhat randomly, but trying to keep in place with the tone of the scene, the nature of the characters’ personalities, and the need to drive some emotion home.

    Lastly, avoid excessive out of place descriptions, adjectives and adverbs, which are more there to show off your grasp of illustration than to actually illustrate, especially in run-on orgasmic openers. If you put it all up front, rather than matter-of-factly all the way through a little at a time, you’ll suddenly do a literary jump cut between styles. It would be like lavishing way too much detail on one room of your house and leaving the rest sterile.

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