Thursday, July 25, 2013

Five overused words

On July 24, Allied Authors, one of Wisconsin's oldest writing collectives, published an interesting article on five overused words—Then, Also, And, Said, and Was—that "fledgling writers" like this blogger use more than necessary. The piece was written by David Michael Williams, a fantasy/sf writer and Allied Authors member. You can read it at Allied Authors or on the author's website where it first appeared on June 20, 2013.

Out of curiosity I checked the number of times I'd used the five words on this entire page. In 14 posts, not counting this one, I used "Then" 10 times, "Also" 12 times, "And" 308 times, "Said" 3 times, and "Was" 16 times. 

How many "times" does that make?!

A simple Ctrl+F tells me where I'd overused the words "Then" and "Also." I'm okay with the count for "And" as it appears almost everywhere including in words and terms like "Land," "Laurel and Hardy," "England," "Mandrake," and "Demanding." The numbers for "Said" and "Was" across 14 posts seem fair.

The next time I proofread my copy I'm going to keep a finger on "Delete" and ensure that I don't overuse it.


  1. 'M'rake' doen't have the same ring to it somehow, Prashant! I will admit to overusing these all the time, though I've never been shy of a clause or three so I try to keep my 'and's to a minimum (sic).

  2. I posted not long back about double checking these words at the end of manuscript because I know that I way overuse them at times. It's good to keep a handle on it and helps you realize some things about your writing for sure.

  3. Very interesting, Prashant. I will go read that post. I am sure I overuse some of those words if not all... but I don't think I am going to worry about it too much. I like to write well, but mostly I write for fun.

  4. Interesting, Prashant. I agree with the speech tag use. Not sure about the others.

  5. There is a whole bunch of words I use too much.

  6. I don't think I'll be checking back as to whether I've offended the grammar police. I do try and re-read my posts before hitting the publish button, but invariably I suppose my posts have errors and don't read as well as I would like.