Use Precise Words. Delete Unnecessary Words

“Use  Precise Words. Delete Unnecessary Words.”

Don’t fill your writing with vague, iffy words. Use clear, precise words in your writing. Delete weak, unnecessary words.

Here are a few ideas to help you improve your clarity.

  1. Many writers use the word think. Be more precise.

More precise: recall, remember, recollect, review, consider, contemplate,  entertain the idea of,  weigh, turn over in one’s mind, mull over, chew over, reflect on, believe, consider, contemplate, decide, dream, guess, imagine, know, notice, realize, remember, see, suppose,  understand, wonder.

A. I thought I’d go to the park.
B. I decided to go to the park.

A. I thought about my choices.
B. I mulled over my choices.

2. Delete overused pet words, such as:  then, just, that, very, etc.

A. I went to the store, then I picked out a great slice of salmon, then I paid for it and left the store.
B. At the store, I picked out a great slice of salmon, paid for it, and left.

A. Sam just began his job at 6:00 a.m.
B. Sam began his job at 6:00 a.m.

A. Tom shared only one wish.
B. Tom shared one wish.

A. Jane shared just three wishes.
B. Jane shared three wishes.

A. Leslie was very excited to begin lessons.
B. Leslie eagerly began her first tap lesson.

3. Use stronger verbs so you can delete unnecessary “ly” adverbs or weak adjectives. Mark Twain said about adjectives, “When in doubt strike it out.” I believe it works for adverbs, too. Here are examples of weak adjectives: little, big, long, short, old, and young. More precise words could be used.

Adverbs

A. Jake angrily left the meeting.
B. Jake stomped out of the meeting.

A. Sam sat down sadly in the chair.
B. Sam slumped into the chair.

A. Susan went down the hall.
B. Susan raced down the hall.

Adjectives

A. Ronald drove an old car.
B. Ronald drove a rickety 1920 Model T.

A. The big cat jumped through the hoop.
B. The lion leaped through the fiery hoop.

I believe the B options are the best. What do you think?

Use your search and find options for your Word documents to find your overused words, LY adverbs, or adjectives.

Thanks for reading my blog. I’d love to hear from you. Please share one of your pet words that you may use too many times in your manuscripts. Mine is the word “then.”

Giveaway is over for this post.

Thank you to all of you who read my blog and leave comments on a regular basis. You add joy to my heart.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2019 Joan Y. Edwards

Resources

  1. Chuck Palahniuk. “Thought Verbs:” https://litreactor.com/essays/chuck-palahniuk/nuts-and-bolts-“thought”-verbs
  2. College Writing Clinic. “Delete Unnecessary Words:” https://collegewritingclinic.com/sample-lesson-plans/delete-unnecessary-words/
  3. Diana Urban. “Words You Should Cut from Your Writing Immediately:” https://dianaurban.com/words-you-should-cut-from-your-writing-immediately
  4. Jerry Jenkins. “The Ultimate Strong Verbs:” (This contains a list of strong verbs.)https://jerryjenkins.com/powerful-verbs/
  5. Kathy Steinemann. “Six Ways to Reduce “LY” Adverbs:” https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/adverb-abuse/

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7 thoughts on “Use Precise Words. Delete Unnecessary Words”

  1. Always important to edit and revise accordingly! Thanks for the tips. I do not wish to enter my name in the drawing this time! Brighten someone else’s day!

    Linda Gutheil

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thank you very much for leaving a comment. I always enjoy hearing from you. You are right. It is always a good idea to edit and revise manuscripts.

      Do something fun for you today before midnight!

      Never Give UP

      Joan

    1. Dear JQ Rose,

      So good to hear from you. Thanks for saying I gave great examples to demonstrate the lesson on words. How is your writing going?

      Do something fun before midnight to celebrate you!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

    1. Dear Melanie,
      Thank you for writing. It is a pleasure to hear from you.
      I’m glad that you believe I gave excellent advice in this post.

      Do something fun for you today!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

  2. Three people left comments on this post before midnight, May 26, 2019. Linda Gutheil asked not to be included in the drawing. Therefore, it’s between:
    J Q Rose
    Melanie Robertson-King
    Random.org chose number 1. Congratulations, JQ Rose, you won a free critique of 1,000 words. I will suggest more precise words and give you three Blue Ribbon Passages. Please send it to joanyedwards1@gmail.com.
    Thank you to all of you who read my blog and leave comments on a regular basis. You add joy to my heart.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards
    Copyright © 2019 Joan Y. Edwards

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