An important aspect of revision is the hunt for overused words. One good way to do that is to use the “Find” option in your word processor: type the culprit in the find field and see how many times you’ve used it and where it is located. Each writer has different words they tend to gravitate toward. Creating a personal overused word list will become very helpful. I know that I overuse just which I can usually just find and remove. There are many lists of overused words on the internet to help you get started. Here’s an example:
From Claire Fallon’s article in the Huffington Post:
Here are 12 words that have been so overused they really don’t mean anything anymore:
- literally: Originally meant “in a literal or strict sense,” but is used as a more general intensifier for things that are not strictly true. Because of this, “in a figurative sense,” the exact opposite of the original meaning, has now been added to the dictionary as a definition for literally.
- unique: Originally meant “unlike anything else,” but is used to mean “different, to some degree, from the standard or the norm.”
- awesome: Originally meant “causing feelings of fear or wonder,” but is used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- amazing: Originally meant “causing overwhelming surprise or astonishment,” but is used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- totally: Originally meant “completely, in every part,” but is now used as a general intensifier, much like “really.”
- basically: Originally meant “essentially” or “fundamentally,” but is now used as general verbal filler.
- incredible: Originally meant “impossible to believe,” but is now used as a general, positive descriptor like “great” or “cool.”
- really: Originally meant “actually true,” but is now used frequently as a general intensifier.
- very: Meaning “to a high degree,” we all just need to stop using it in every other sentence.
- honestly: Originally meant “in an honest and genuine manner,” but is now often used as general verbal filler.
- absolutely: Originally meant “in a complete and total manner,” but is now used as a general intensifier.
- unbelievable: Originally meant “impossible to believe,” but is now used as a general, positive descriptor.
I recently read a book that had a serious seemed problem.