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Those of you who have been writing for a while may have started to notice that you have a few ‘favourite’ words. I’m not talking so much about words you are particularly fond of (although, ‘kumquat’ has a very special place in my heart), but words that you use all the time, and perhaps overuse, without even realise it.

I have three myself;

  • ‘but’ – yes, I know you can’t get very far without it, but I really worry that I use it too much
  • ‘moment’ – ‘for a moment’, ‘at that moment’, it’s such a versatile word!
  • ‘despite’ – although I still misspell it every time
It's a good thing I have a computer or all my manuscripts would look like this. Image by @LIQUIDBONEZ

It’s a good thing I have a computer or all my manuscripts would look like this.
Image by @LIQUIDBONEZ

There’s nothing wrong with favouring certain words in your vocabulary to some extent, and I think it’s all part of an author’s style, but there is a limit (darn, I used ‘but’ again).

My solution to overusing particular words is to review all of my uses of them in a single piece of work after it’s complete, and decide where they are unnecessary. When you are in the moment (oh no, there’s ‘moment’), it can seem impossible to think of another word that will do the job just as well, but when you come to review the piece as a whole, somehow it is much easier.

I’m curious to know what your commonly overused words are! Drop a comment and let me know.

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