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Writing Tips : for the Writer and the Aspiring Writer - Weak Words

Updated on July 27, 2012

Writing Tips : No. 1 Tip - write something every day

Picture of the author at 41 as a member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions.
Picture of the author at 41 as a member of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions.

No, I'm not a well known author; just a fellow who's been writing for forty years and has won a minor writing prize or two

This short article is presented for the writer and the aspiring writer.

Lazy, weak words - and superflous words

Below, I deal briefly with three words which we should become wary of overusing or using inappropriately. Such detracts from the power of both our oral and written presentations

So here we go:

Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t use the word great so often? Because if there one word that really grates from over use it’s great. Great speech, man. Great result, son, great performance, sir. We had a great time on our holiday.


Yes, your idea was really great. Keep up the practice and you’ll become great.

How about momentous? Memorable? Facinating? Or even profound as a generalization? – but not great.

Weak Words - Frankly I'd be grateful if 'great' were used less often

Quite frankly, I’d be grateful if great were used less often...and if if was – it’d be great.

Used sparingly and in proper context the word great can be very powerful. For example:

“With a prolonged blast on her fog horn, and with her four huge funnels wafting smoke, the tugboats nudged the great ship out into the grey waters of the English Channel."

Or, Winston Churchill is regarded in Britain as one of the truly great men.

Another weak word is ‘terrific.’

We had a terrific time. That speech you gave was terrific. We had a terrific win; walked all over them. Oh, he's just a terrific player, etc.

Terrific infers terror. For example. A terrific, ear-drum shattering explosion left them aghast with fear. There was a terrific storm.

Advice for the Writer and the Aspiring Writer: Words - As a writer you need precision tools

The weak word is the lazy word; the word used habitually and without aforethought. Turn your weak words into strong ones by using them sparingly and with precision. Words are your 'tools of thought.' Hone them!

Tautology is bad enough; habitual redundancy is even worse.

There has also been a tendency around the English speaking world to use words where they’re not needed at all. No, I’m not talking about Anglo-Saxon swear words. I’m talking about a word I know most of you hear in just about every second or third sentence nowadays: basicly.

Well, basically, I’d be basically more happy if you basically didn’t use the word basically so often. Why? Because basically it annoys the hell out of me to use basically when basically isn’t required.... I think you’ll get the picture. It’s a basic mistake.

I hope you like this brief article Writing Tips : for the Writer and the Aspiring Writer - weak words.

Keep smiling



Submit a Comment

  • htodd profile image

    htodd 6 years ago from United States

    Thanks for the great post ..The number one tip is really great "write something everyday" .

  • profile image

    Tusitiala Tom 7 years ago

    Also, however, moreover, heretofor, not withstanding, etc., are all conjoining words or phrases and, in my opinion, useful words. "Having said that," a phrase used so often nowadays for the word "but." is not so good. But then again, this is all my subjective opinion. No one has carved it in stone or cast it in bronze. Suit yourself...

  • Pcunix profile image

    Tony Lawrence 7 years ago from SE MA

    Ayup. I overuse "therefore", therefore I try to be aware of that.

    Of course, there are phrases like "of course" that I have to be watchful for also.

    Also, 'also" slips into my prose far too often.

  • heart4theword profile image

    heart4theword 7 years ago from hub

    Never really thought of how words our tools? Even though, we use them in our writing. I guess when it comes to writing, maybe practice will make some things perfect:)