Tameri Guide for Writers_ Words to Avoid

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  • 5/6/12 Tameri Guide for Writers: Words to Avoid

    1/3www.tameri.com/edit/words2kill.html

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    home >editing >wordusage >wordstoavoid>styleguide

    WordsandPhrasestoAvoidWheneditingamanuscript,somewordsdeservetodienot

    always,butusually.(Ifyoumissthehumoroftheprecedingsentence,youwontafterreadingthisdocument.Thesentencecontainsabasicgrammarerror,astyleslip,andseveralvaguewords.)

    Thewordslistedinthetablebelowappearinorderofpopularity.Wordsandphrasesabusedwiththegreatestfrequencytopthelist.Formoreonwordstoavoid,readourguidetowordusageandabusage.

    anyinfinitive(towalk)aboutallalmostalwaysanxiouslybelieveeagerlyevery

    feelfinallyfrequentlygotjustmerelynearlyneednever

    notoftenonlysothatthepublicthenvery

    VerbsAvoidanyuncertainwordsorphrases.Thetwothatappear

    frequentlyinacademicpapersareIfeelandIbelieve.believeChangesentencesthatstartwithIbelievetostatementsofcertainty,especiallyinacademicorbusinesswriting.Youdonotwantreaderstoquestionyourviewpointordoubtyourconclusions.

    havegotYouhavesomething,withoutthegot.feelYoudonotfeelanopinion.Feelshouldbereservedforphysicalcondictionsandactions.

    AdverbsWhenusedasmodifiersofverbs,adverbsareambiguous.Ifhe

    quicklyran,thenjusthowfastdidherun?Adverbsdonotanswertowhatdegreeorextent,despitewhatgrammariansmightsay.

    Adverbsoftimeareoverused.Writerslittermanuscriptswithwordssuchasfinallyandthenbecausepeopledosoinspeech.Notandotheradverbsofmannerareeasyforwriterswhileitrequireslittleefforttousethesewords,betterwordsorphrasescanbefoundinmostcases.veryWhileveryisintendedtomagnifyaverb,adverb,ornoun,itlacksprecision.Veryisseldomessential.(Now,whatswrongwithseldomintheprecedingsentence?)

    notNotisanadverbmeaninginnomannerortonodegree.Wediscouragewritersfromusingnotandnegativewordsformedusingtheprefixesirandunwhenpossible.

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    ScottandSusanarebothonTwitter.Followusforthelatestupdates.

    never/alwaysAbsoluteseitherlockawriterintoapositionorgivetheappearanceofconceit.Usethesewordswhentheabsoluteisacommandorinstruction.

    Alwaysmakesurethenuclearreactorchamberissealedproperly.

    often/frequentlyIndividualshaveuniqueopinionsofwhatconstitutesfrequentlyoroften.Suchmeasuresoftimearemattersofperspective.

    almost/nearlyApproximationsshouldbeusedsparingly.Usealmostornearlywhenaprecisemeasurementisunrealisticinfictionorimpossible.

    anxiously/eagerlyAnxiouslyimplieswithanxietyandeagerlyimplieswithanticipation.Bothareweakadverbsthatcanbereplacedbybetterdescribingasituation.

    Shewaitedanxiously.Shesatwaiting,bitingherlipandlookingaroundtheroom.

    only/merelyCondescendingwhenusedtodescribeanoun.

    WeakLinksfinallyWhendescribingaseriesofevents,thewordfinallyindicateslazinessonthepartofthewriter.Finallyimpliesanexhaustionordistastefortheseries.

    then/nextWhenrecountingevents,thenandnextareweaktransitions.Tryeliminatingthenwithspecificreferencestotime,location,orlistcharacteristics.

    AswedrovedownMainStreet,wefirstsawSmallvilleHardware.Then,acrossthestreetwasMasKettle,apopularrestaurant.Next,wesawabar,thepostoffice,andabarbershop.FinallywereachedCityHall.

    AswedrovedownMainStreet,wefirstsawSmallvilleHardware.AcrossthestreetwasMa'sKettle,apopularrestaurant.Passingthenextblock,wesawabar,thepostoffice,andabarbershop.CityHallgreetedusattheendofthestreet.

    AdjectivesWritersmustrememberthatadjectivesarerelativetoareaders

    experiences.Describingacharacterastallwithoutspecifyingaheightallowseveryreadertoimagineadifferentmeasurement.Somewritersprefertoallowaudiencesalotoffreedom,butdoingsocanbedangerous.amazing/wonderful/etcAvoidoverstatinghowspecialaperson,thing,oreventis.Romancenovels,inparticular,overusethesewords.

    big/small,short/tallRemembereachreaderhasaunique

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    perspectivefromwhichheorsheviewsotherpeople.Giveprecisedescriptionsofcharacterswhenpossible.

    all/everyAllandeveryimplyabsolutequantities.perfectNothingrealisperfect.However,onemakesexceptionsforperfectscores,perfectangles,andtheperfecttenseofverbs.

    NounsthepublicThepublicseldomthinksoractsasasingleunit.Whenapoliticianclaimsthepublicwantssomething,questionwhatthepoliticianisclaiming.

    needTherearefewneeds,butwantsanddesiresareplentiful.Youneedfood,thoughyoumightwantchocolate.

    Prepositionsabout(adv)Usethephrasewentaroundorasimilarphrasethatmoreclearlyindicatesasenseofdirection.(prep)Whenusedcolloquiallyinthephraseshowabout,whatabout,andnotaboutto,killthephraseandrewritethesentence.

    Whataboutgoingtothepartylater?Shouldwegotothepartylater?

    FiftyShadesofGreyELJamesNew

    FiftyShadesDarkerELJamesNew

    WordUsageStylebookGrammarWordstoAvoidWritingTermsWritingEditingFormatting

    Copyright2011C.S.Wyatt&SusanD.Schnelbach

    Writer:C.S.WyattUpdated:17Feb2012Editor:S.D.Schnelbach