Thursday, July 17, 2008

Throw Overused Words Under the Bus

“Genius is an overused word. The world has known only about a half dozen geniuses. I got only fairly near.”—Fritz Kreisler

Every year Michigan's Lake Superior State University releases an annual list of overused words and phrases. Author/authored and wordsmith/wordsmithing made 2008’s 33rd annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness.

Check out why they suggest retiring these words:
Post 9/11
Give back
Black Friday.
Back in the day
It is what it is.
Under the bus

Nominate an overused idiom for 2009's list.

Ten Not-So-Genius Ways to Banish Overused Words
There are two types of overused words pet words and phrases and words that are repeated too often. How do you stop repeating overused words?
1. First, find out which words you tend to overuse. This website lists how many times each word is written in a manuscript.
2. Make a list of your pet words or phrases. When I was working on a film series, the talking head repeatedly said, “As you will.” The editor edited it out, then and made a hilarious “As you will” video.
3. Avoid using those words at all.
4. Avoid using lingo that dates your writing.
5. Rewrite or rephrase the sentence.
6. Listen to fresh words or phrases people say that catches your ears.
7. Write down words or phrases that you read.
8. Expand your vocabulary.
9. Find a better word using the thesaurus.
10. Coin a new phrase.

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