sharpen your writing

Unnecessary, weak words, like grammatical expletives, dilute our writing, but most of us don’t even realize we’re using them. That’s because they are part of our everyday conversation.

I’ll tell you about my rude awakening to filler words and weak qualifiers (e.g. “very, really, a lot”). When I was going through the editing process with my first novella, I noticed I used the word “just” twice in a sentence. Out of curiosity, I searched up how just many “justs” were in the whole document. My story was infected!

Here is a list of overused vague qualifiers/filler words. Sharpen your writing in minutes by searching your manuscript with the “find and replace” feature and removing/changing these words.

  1. very
  2. too
  3. so
  4. quite
  5. rather
  6. somewhat
  7. basically
  8. virtually
  9. generally
  10. slightly
  11. really
  12. a lot
  13. sort of
  14. indeed
  15. still
  16. almost
  17. fairly
  18. even
  19. a bit
  20. a little
  21. kind of
  22. usually
  23. a few
  24. mostly
  25. and my favorite “just

Stephen King said that the road to hell is paved in adverbs. I would then say that same road is blacktopped with the words in this list. It’s almost impossible to get out of the habit of using them, so make sure you look for them before submitting, publishing, or turning your manuscript over to your editor.

What word out of this list do you notice in your writing?

I’d love to know if you’ve filtered your writing for these words. How many did you find?

Happy Writing!


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