Monday, 7 November 2011

It's Just.....

Yesterday I went through my manuscript looking for words I overuse. I checked each one and if it wasn't necessary it got cut. I cut over 100 of the word "just".

Really, what an innocuous word, but it had taken over the entire manuscript.

Another one I'm halfway through checking is "that".

I was also pretty bad with "yet"

What words do you overuse? Are you aware you overuse them?

Do I really want to see the answers to this blog post? I daren't check for any more overused words- I might not have a manuscript left!


  1. Yep, those are 3 of my worst ones too. Along with the phrases 'she felt relieved' (and variations thereof) and what/why/who 'on earth'. . . Oh and my characters keep on sighing. Thank goodness for Word. Imagine doing this on a typewriter.

  2. Had.

    And 'Yes' at the beginning of dialogue replies.

    Sure there are more, too!

    And exclamation marks!

    Good luck!

  3. Just gets me too. I have a link somewhere with a good list of fluff words and each MS I search out the words. I am so glad when I finish too. lol

  4. Ooooh, I haven't checked for 'just'. As Janet said, there's a fair bit of sighing going on in mine. And for some reason 'She made to pick up...' features a lot.

    *Goes off to check her justs*

  5. I decided to compile a list of over used words to have it on hand. I decided to share it and it's now the most viewed page on my blog.

  6. I use 'that' a lot too. An unexpectedly overused phrase is 'it didn't matter'. I only discovered it when I changed my guy's name from Matt to Tom, so every 'matter' was changed to 'Tomer' :-)

  7. I have no idea, but you've left me with an overwhelming urge to re-read all my current MSS...

  8. I seem to start every bit of dialogue with the word 'so' and 'suddenly' appears all over the place too... yuk :)

  9. I use 'had' much more than I should. And 'yeah' but that's usually in dialog, so does that count?

  10. Janet - Oh yes, you've just reminded me I think my characters also sigh and they smile far too often!I need to check these things.

    Effie - isn't it funny how we all find yourself with some kind of word or words that we overuse without realising it in.

    Patricia - I'm not sure I could look at your list of fluff words, I'be to scared I'd have nothing left!

    Kit - I have also notice a bit of sighing in one way shape or form and thing I need to check for that and make a few changes. Thank you!

    Bish - I'm not sure I search for an entirely list, as I'm not sure I'd have a manuscript left!

    That is a funny one and it's probably one people don't realise it creeps in quite as often as it does. It's good for those of us who recognised it though.

    OOOh, Annalisa That's not a good sign!!

    Laura, I do think So and Suddenly are big ones as well. Espcially suddenly as you ant to change pace or something happens quickly. It's not always easy to keep the over used words out, but at least with our recognising them, we can try to not have so many of them and that has to be a good thing .

    Jenny - If Yeah, is how someone speaks than I think your on safer ground. I think a run through looking for had may be an idea though. You'd be surprised just how many you get in there. I know I was!

  11. Oh my God! You must have been reading my MS. I LOVE the word 'just'. And 'really'. It's just pathetic, really.

  12. I over use just too. Though at times, because we use it so much in the spoken language, and you want your characters to sound human, it's justifiable. But you 'just' have to limit its use lol!

    That and Was are hard ones too.

  13. Talli - I never realised I loved it so much!

    Teresa - I've gone through the ms and removed multiple "that"s as well. There are just so many words to consider. Who knew we were actually quite repetitive!

  14. I use just a lot (though I am trying to whip as many of them out as I can).

    Only is another I use far too much.