7 Phrases To Keep away from Whereas Writing To Be A Higher Author
If you are reading this, you will want to be a better writer. However, it's hard to become a better writer, isn't it? It's more art than science. There are hundreds of writing rules, thousands of words you need to know, and millions of ways you can write a simple message. There are also words that must be avoided in writing.
How do you become a better writer when writing itself is so complicated?
A writing rule that will make you a better writer
This article discusses seven words to avoid. However, if I had to give you some advice on how to become a better writer it would be:
"Be more specific."
Being more specific is the part of the writing tip I give almost every writer I work with.
Unfortunately, there aren't seven magic words that can help you write better.
Instead, these seven vague words will KILL your writing.
If you want to follow writing rule number one, to be more specific, you need to look out for these seven words. They are vague and usually a shortcut to what you really want to say.
Every time you catch yourself writing, try to find a better (and more specific) way to get your message across.
The problem with writing about what not to do is that you inevitably do exactly what you tell others not to do.
If you catch me with any of these seven words or phrases in this article or anywhere else, feel free to email me and label me a hypocrite.
Keep in mind, however, that none of us, especially myself, have reached the peak of editorial perfection. Also, remember that writing is still an art, not a science, and the most important rule of the art is to break the rules!
7 Words and Phrases To Avoid While Writing (To Be A Better Writer)
Without further ado, here are the seven words and phrases to avoid if you want to become a better writer.
1. "One of"
Good writers take a stand.
It is either the most important thing or it is not. It's either for the best or it's not. Avoid saying "one of the most important", "one of the best".
example: One of the most important writing rules is to be specific.
Instead: The most important writing rule is to be specific.
This is true when it comes to writing short stories, novels, or even academic writing. As a writer, you should be sure of what you are writing about. Use words that are safe, not slurred.
Here is the definition of the word "some:
- An unspecified amount or number of.
- Used to refer to someone or something that is unknown or unspecified.
By definition, the word "some" is vague, and as you know, vague writing is bad writing.
If you want to become a better writer avoid "some" and all of their relatives:
Using "some" in any form often works as a filler word or boring writing, and also makes it difficult to imagine what you are talking about.
Good writing sticks to specifics. Rather than relying on vague descriptions that include “some,” think about how to create an accurate picture by adding details into the description.
We use the word "thing" all the time. Even when I wrote this article, I was struggling not to use it.
However, the word “thing” is an abbreviation and a symbol for vague, watered-down writing. When you see it in your writing, think carefully about what you really want to say.
A good way to identify how often you use the word “thing” is with the search and find tool. See how often you use this weak word in your writing and replace it with what you actually want to write about.
There is often a noun that you are actually trying to explain, and "thing" doesn't describe that noun well.
4. "To be" verbs, especially before verbs that end with -ing
"To be" is the most common verb in the English language. Its conjugations include:
Because "To Be" verbs are so common, they are easily overused, especially with progressive verbs, verbs that end with -ing.
example: "Spot ran through the woods."
Instead: "Spot ran through the woods."
"Spot ran" is a good example of a verb that is weakened by "sein".
"Spot ran", on the other hand, is a much stronger example.
Instead, think about how to use living verbs or action verbs. In fact, I would argue that living verbs are the most important words used in a story or written word as this is actually pointing rather than narrating.
Another tip to keep in mind is that “to be” verbs often use passive language. As a writer, you want to write with active language rather than passive language.
The above example models this.
Why cut the word "very"? I'll leave this to the pros:
"Replace" damn "every time you tend to write" a lot "," said Mark Twain. "Your editor will erase it and the writing will be as it should be."
This goes for New York editors who work for large publishing houses and freelance editors, and it should be something that you cut off on editing your own work.
It's not dissimilar to fancy dialog tags like "roar" or "exclaimed". The overuse of the word "very" is noticeable in a distracting way.
It makes the writing clunky rather than clearly descriptive.
"So avoid using the word" very "as it is lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Do not use very sad, use grumpy. The language was invented for a reason: boys – to recruit women – and laziness is not enough in this endeavor. Nor is it possible in your essays. "—NH Kleinbaum, Dead Poets Society
"Very" is the most useless word in the English language and it can always come out. It is more than useless, it is treacherous because it always weakens what it is supposed to strengthen. “- King of Florence
6. Adverbs (words ending with "-ly")
Adverbs – like loud, painful, beautiful – are well-intentioned words that do nothing for the reading experience.
Good writing is specific. Good writing paints pictures in the minds of readers. But which sentence paints a better picture in your head?
Sentence 1: "She laughed out loud."
Sentence 2: “Her loud laughter seemed to echo through the party like a gong. Heads turned to see where the turmoil was coming from. "
Adverbs give verbs a glimmer of meaning, but it's the difference between gilded and solid gold. Go for the real thing. Avoid adverbs.
That way, you'll likely improve your word count as well. Writing fewer words to tell a story is better than adding adverbs just because you think it brings out a detail.
7. Key words: So mostly mostly, often, often, often
Most of the time – often even – you don't need keywords. Cut them to sharpen your writing.
I've even read an argument that starting your sentence with the word "so" can sound condescending. What do you think?
Writing this way is not easy
It takes time. You have to think through every sentence, every word. You have to cut and rewrite and rewrite.
You have to think.
That’s how you naturally become a better writer. You work with words. You build up one sentence at a time. And at some point you will become so quick and knowledgeable that it's easy to write that way.
Was just a joke. It’s never easy. However, it's worth it.
Are you trying to avoid some or all of these words in your writing? Let us know in the comments.
Rewrite the following paragraph, avoiding the seven words above.
One of John's favorite things was the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the East River. He sometimes went there early in the morning, when it was still very dark, to see the city in the first light. He often saw others there who went for a walk and also enjoyed the city. He was somewhere near Squibb Park when someone appeared behind him. She had really blonde hair and was very beautiful, and she nudged him roughly as she ran by quickly. He fell painfully on his side, so the woman stopped and jogged in place when she asked if he was okay. So, he thought, what do I do now?
Write for fifteen minutes, packing as much detail as possible into the paragraph. When you're done, post your exercise in the comments section. And if you share your practice, please leave feedback on some of the practices of other authors.
Joe Bunting is a writer and leader of The Write Practice Community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real adventure story in France. It was a # 1 new release on Amazon. You can follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).