Monday, November 12, 2012

Unnecessary Words

Mark TwainSubstitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 
― Mark Twain

I've always liked this quote by Mark Twain. It highlights a problem that is sometimes difficult to eliminate from the stories/essays we write. We tend to use these 'extras' in everyday conversation and they drift right into our writing. We use these words without even thinking about it. They drift right from our brain to our fingertips and Voila! They scatter themselves throughout our story/essay/article.

In my early writing days, one of the words I used repeatedly was just. I did so unconsciously but it popped up far too often. I credit the moderator of the online critique group I belonged to at the time for breaking me of using that word. I do use it now but with a careful eye. 

There are many words that become fillers and add nothing to the content of what you are writing about. Watch out for words like these:

very
really
definitely
usually
just
so
kind of 
sort of
perhaps
then

This list is by no means complete. If you use these words, there's a good chance you sprinkle them throughout your work way too often. 

What happens if you work to eliminate words like the ones in the list above? For one thing, you shorten your word count which may be crucial when writing on assignment. You also have a tighter, stronger story. You won't be accused of constant repetition of certain words. The main idea of your sentence stands on its own and is of greater importance. 

What unnecessary words are you guilty of using? 

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