Today’s Writing Tip Is on Our Favorite Words

Many writers have certain words that they use repeatedly without any awareness of doing so. Writer A may love the word invariably and use it throughout a business proposal. Writer B may add the phrase “as well” or “too” to the end of dozens of sentences in her novel.

Often it’s hard to recognize words that we overuse, which is why it’s good to have someone else read your copy before you submit a manuscript or short story to a publisher. Meanwhile, if you blog or write for an audience, ask your readers what words tend to reappear in your work.

I often use whereas and however; I do this in order to avoid using the word but. But there are times when it’s better to choose a different word, even if it sounds pedestrian. Bookmark a good thesaurus and search for synonyms for the words that you tend to use often.

Sigrid Macdonald is the author of three books, including Be Your Own Editor, available on Amazon in paperback for $15.34 ( or Kindle ( for $3.99. Buy it directly from me for $9.99 from now until Christmas. Visit

3 thoughts on “Today’s Writing Tip Is on Our Favorite Words”

  1. OK, I confess that I overuse “Ultimately” and “Clearly” when I’m trying to make a big, important statement, though I do it more verbally than in my writing. (More difficult to eradicate verbal tics.) Ah, yes, acceptance: the first step to recovery…

  2. Jake, *clearly* step one involves recognition of the problem 😉 And, *ultimately,* I’m sure that you’ll succeed.

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