Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Filler Words!

imagesW5P4TYLKI’ve been a little busy the last few months and have revisited some of my favorite posts. I hope you enjoy this one. Most of the concepts I write about are simple. I just never really gave them a lot of thought before I started writing my novel.

When writing, remember less is more. Stay away from qualifiers. They weaken your prose, and the result is the exact opposite of what your were trying to achieve. I know why you use them. I’m hooked on ‘very’. Other people are hooked on the word ‘too’. If you are resorting to qualifiers for emphasis, odds are, you are using the wrong word in the first place.

These qualifiers are the words your English teacher dreaded seeing, such as very, too, really, and sort of. When you overuse these words, your writing will seem lazy, as if you haven’t taken the time to look for the right word.

This pasta dish is very good.
This pasta dish is superb. (Better)
I’m feeling sort of sick.
I’m feeling nauseous. (Better)
You look really nice!
You look radiant. (Better)

Since ‘very’ is my nemesis, I thought I would provide a list of more powerful words to use to replace ‘very’ ___________.

  • very fast                    quick
  • very dry                    parched
  • very dirty                  squalid
  • very afraid               terrified
  • very angry                furious
  • very hot                    scolding
  • very hungry             ravenous
  • very large                 colossal
  • very clean                spotless
  • very clever              brilliant
  • very beautiful        exquisite
  • very ugly                 hideous
  • very pretty             beautiful
  • very thin                 gaunt
  • very tired               exhausted

I think you get the picture. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope this got you thinking.

-Jan R

Friends Don’t Let Friends Use Filler Words!

Avoid Fancy Words

6207da0c9e08fd20a96cc7bf70033c98I personally like to read communications where I don’t notice the writing at all. You can achieve that by investing in great content and then stripping away anything that detracts from it.

Avoid fancy words. Avoid the elaborate, the pretentious, the coy, and the cute. Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.

You should write in a way that comes easy and natural. I don’t know anybody that says the sky is beauteous, or she was ostentatious. I certainly don’t use those words in my everyday conversations, as a matter of fact, I don’t use them in my writing either.

I could just imagine my reader stumbling over these words.  They are long and require effort to read. They slow down the pace and pull readers out of their suspension of disbelief, by reminding them they are reading.

I saw this example in a blog and thought it did a great job of getting my point across.

Consequences of erudite vernacular utilized irrespective of necessity: problems with using long words needlessly.

I bet that sentence drove you nuts. I know the example is a bit extreme, but what do you think? Should I go with simple or fancy?

My thought is, you should write problems instead of consequences, using instead of utilized, long words instead of erudite vernacular, and needlessly instead of irrespective of necessity. Keep it simple.

Use longer words only if your meaning is so specific no other words will do.

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Avoid Fancy Words