Sometimes freelance, fiction, ghost, travel, and non-fiction writers use certain words and phrases that have worn out their welcome. Writers, you are creative people and can certainly think of new words and phrases to use. Unless a client specifically says, “Use the following words and phrases,” grab the thesaurus and spice up your writing. It’s time to toss out the same old, same old, and bring in the new.
27 Words and Phrases That Have Worn Out Their Welcome
1. Awesome! Some people from the 1980s may not be ready to use a ‘new’ word but ‘Awesome’ is getting a bit old.
2. Azure. Travel writers love to use this word to describe a body of water. Believe it or not, there are other words to describe water. FYI: Turquoise is also overused. How about an indigo sea you can see for miles? Put your creativity hat on and leave ‘azure’ alone for a while.
3. “Think outside of the box.” I can hear everyone from the 1990s saying, “What? You don’t want us to think outside the box?” Sales and marketing and motivational gurus love to use this phrase. How about saying, Get out of your comfort zone and try something new,” or something like that.
4. Lol! I must admit that I overuse use this. I hardly use ‘LMAO‘ but need to back off of Lol!
5. Literally. This brings back memories of Janeane Garolfalo guest appearance in an episode of The King of Queens. She used this word over and over which drove Carrie Heffernan aka Leah Remini nuts.
6. Seriously. See above.
7. Enchanted. This is another favorite word of travel writers. Believe it not, some castles are not enchanted. Some of them may be haunted (overused as well), but you can think of another word to describe a castle, B&B, or region of a country.
8. “We’re leading the world.” Are you truly leading the world? If you are leading the world, show people how you’re leading the world and what you’re leading the world in.
9. Really. See literally and seriously.
10. Go for it! I too have overused this word. It’s motivating, but you can use another phrase to motivate people.
11. “He/she is a spiritual person.” Can you elaborate on the word spiritual? What does this mean? How is a person spiritual?
12. Beautiful. I know U2’s hit song, “Beautiful Day” is catchy, but the word beautiful is overused and boring. Why not use gorgeous, stunning, or vibrant?
13. So. I’ve overused the word so and could probably go back and rewrite sentences on my blog posts, but they’re already in cyberspace. So what is the point of changing them? Just kidding!
14. Great. Yep! I’ve overused this word. It’s time to give it a rest.
15. Good. It’s good to break out of your writing comfort zone and use another word.
16. Nice. See above.
17. Very. I’m not sure about this word. Sometimes it’s better to say ‘very’ instead of using a One Dollar Word. It’s your call.
Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. C. S. Lewis
18. Pretty. See beautiful.
19. “The sky’s limit.” I believe the universe is vast, and don’t agree with the phrase the sky’s the limit.
20. That. This is another tough one. Sometimes you need to use ‘that’ in a sentence. Of course, you could always rewrite sentences to eliminate that overused word.
21. Love/hate. How many relationship articles have you read with love/hate sprinkled throughout them? Did you write those articles? You may want to use another expression.
22. Whatever! I love this phrase but admit it’s overstayed its welcome. Whatever!
23. Bitch! This was never one of my favorite words for obvious reasons. I believe it’s time to give it a rest and for women to respect each other (men to).
24. Gay. Decades ago ‘gay’ was used to convey a sense of happiness. Today, it means something else and is sometimes used in a derogatory tone. Watch how you use this one or don’t use it at all.
25. Viral. Marketing gurus love this one, but it burned out in a short amount of time.
26. “Aha Moment.” Oprah fans won’t be happy about this one, but having an ‘Aha Moment’ is getting old and stale. How about an epiphany instead? How about being enlightened? On second thought, enlightened is overused.
27. “I’m Just Sayin’.” These are some of the most overused words and phrases found in writing. Push yourself as a writer and avoid using these words whenever possible. If you’re stuck, take a break and rest your mind. Go and “live life to the fullest” to be all the writer you can be!
- British Library compiles wordbank of regional words and phrases (virtuallinguist.typepad.com)
- Deep Studying of Keyword Density (leccoworkshop.com)
- Why the word – ‘word’ – is unique! (theengagingbrand.typepad.com)
- Sound Advice from George Orwell (mannerofspeaking.org)
- Phrases: the source of memorable and persuasive sentences! (harmlessjoyce.wordpress.com)
- 24. Five words/phrases that make you laugh. (spinningredemption.wordpress.com)