Thursday, May 28, 2015

Eliminate These 15 Words recently published the “15 Words You Need to Eliminate From Your Vocabulary to Sound Smarter” so of course I am all over it (for myself). People don’t have time (or the attention span) to read any more words than necessary. If you want people to hear you out and understand your message (and sound smarter), eliminate the following words:  

THAT: unneeded most of the time. My own personal pet peeve. Read any sentence using the word and try the sentence without it. If the sentence works without it, then delete it. Also don’t use that when referring to people. “I have friends that live in that neighborhood.” No you don’t – you have friends who.

WENT: instead consider drove, flew, walked, ran. Went is lazy and doesn’t add to the story.

HONESTLY: people use honestly to add emphasis. But the minute you tell someone this particular statement is honest, you’ve implied the rest of your words are not.

ABSOLUTELY: adding this word to most sentences is redundant. Absolutely necessary doesn’t make it more necessary.

VERY: good adjectives don’t need qualifiers. It makes your statement less specific. Use ecstatic instead of very happy, or depressed instead of very sad. And very cold and very tall means different things to different people.

REALLY: unless you’re visiting from the 1980’s, there’s no need to use this word – as an adjective, verb, or adverb. Pick a different word to make your point. And never repeat really (or very, for that matter).

AMAZING: means “causes great surprise or sudden wonder.” It’s synonymous with wonderful, incredible, startling, marvelous, astonishing, astounding, remarkable, miraculous, surprising, mind-blowing, and staggering. You get the point, right? It’s everywhere – in corporate slogans, Academy Awards speeches, all over social media, pregame and postgame shows. Newsflash: If everything is amazing, nothing is.

ALWAYS: “absolutes lock the writer into a position, sound conceited and close-minded, and often open the door to criticism regarding inaccuracies. Always is rarely true. Unless you are giving written commands or instruction, find another word.”

NEVER: see “always.”

LITERALLY: means literal – actually happening as stated, without exaggeration. Most times the writer actually means figuratively.

JUST: makes sentence weaker, not stronger. Only use as a synonym for equitable, fair, even-handed, or impartial.

MAYBE: communicates uncertainty, makes you sound uninformed and unsure.

STUFF: if what you’re talking about isn’t important enough to be mentioned by name, why mention it at all?

THINGS: see “stuff.”

IRREGARDLESS: doesn’t mean what you think it means. It means – regardless.

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