Which Words do YOU Over-Use?

Big Bro, Beauty and Me Photo: Frank Tubridy
Big Bro, Beauty and Me
Photo: Frank Tubridy

My big brother is an English teacher who writes very well and years ago he advised me to abolish the word nice from my vocabulary and try and come up with something a bit more descriptive and meaningful. I took his advice and I don’t think I’ve ever used the N-word since, except when I’m talking to him. I love seeing his knowing smiles!

Swear words are not part of my vocabulary either and I reckon that comes from our Mother’s influence. Damn; to make a hames (a mess) of something; banjaxed; malarkey; the pink limit;  and hell are the standard acceptables in that department, as well as ‘That beats Banagher and Banagher beats the divil.’   No F-words are allowed apart from Flipping!

But there are two words that I know I completely and utterly  over-use ~ SO as in ‘So, so stunning!‘  and REALLY, as in I’m really glad to hear from you.’ 

From today, my plan is to give this pair the ‘Nice’ treatment and obliterate them forever.

There’s another one that raises its ugly head far more than it should. One letter, I, I, I ….. It needs considerable reducing too.

‘Of all the words in all languages I know, the greatest concentration is in the word I.’ Elias Canetti

Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

44 thoughts on “Which Words do YOU Over-Use?”

  1. “Hopefully”…I find that I use this word alot and beautiful…The word that everybody uses which is getting tiresome is ” Amazing”…

    1. Hi Joni, ‘hopefully’ seems like a good optimistic word to use. ‘Beautiful’ is a bit along the lines of ‘nice,’ though not as bad. I confess to being one of those who uses ‘amazing!’ Apologies!

  2. As chairman of the department of redundancy department, I delight in the richness found accessible in generous quantities inside a well constructed thesaurus. Always keep a pile of words on the floor by my desk. Regularly reach down to snag a handful, and occasionally crawl down into the pile and swim about, frolicking in complete merriment and unrepentant abandon. When words surface not germane to the topic, a diligent effort is made to plug it in somewhere. “Quasar”, for example, has nothing to do with the subject, so there you go. And all this without flirting, or liscivious conduct, but the day is young.

      1. Use mine to add words rather than reduce them. Reduction is something done in kitchens and distilleries–both could be wonderful places to write, come to think of it.

  3. In my creative writing, “as if” happens far too often and needs editing out in subsequent drafts.
    When talking, there’s some word I say that my husband always repeats after me in a disapproving way, but I honestly can’t remember what it is now. Will tell you when I re-offend!

      1. I remembered what my irritating words are because I’m told they’re an “Americanism”. It’s when I’m hypothesising/surmising about something and say “I guess”, either at the beginning or end of my sentence. According to Mister, the end use is more annoying than the beginning!

        1. Hi Sarah, thanks for filling in the blank. ‘I guess’ is so seldom used here in Ireland, I find it quite quaint but I can see that it could be rather annoying if tacked on regularly, like ‘to be honest with you!’

  4. I confess I use ‘nice’ occasionally as an exclamatory – perhaps that’s an Americanism. I do try to avoid it as an adjective. I’ve nearly weaned myself from ‘great’ and ‘really’; I never got on the ‘so’ train – is it gender-biased to observe it may be more of a female thing? Plus, I abhor ‘unique’… 🙂

  5. What a beautiful photo of you and your brother, and that dog a Dalmation you all look so happy and safe. I wish I could go home yo those days.
    As for words yes many many irrigating words. Like, neat,okay,innit at the end of every sentence. I have to own up I really 😉 like stunning and amazing not to mention awesome. In my defence I only use them of I mean them. xxx

    1. Hi Willow, they were happy days and I don’t think I’m just being nostalgic.
      I can’t imagine you saying ‘neat’ at the end of sentences!
      Oh, ‘awesome’ does my head in ~ and ‘it sucks’ feels like the other side of the same coin.

        1. What a relief! I thought I must have been completely mis-reading you all this time with ‘neat’ at the end of sentences.
          I don’t know if I can approve of ‘awesome’ in any context!!!!

    1. Hello Lady K. Thanks for writing. ‘Dude’ is one that is creeping into Ireland ~ it always seems to be men who use it, in my experience anyway. I can’t bear ‘sweet’ or ‘apparently,’ now that you mention them. ‘Apparently’ always makes me think that someone is talking through another person. What do you feel about it?

      1. I guess the word apparently depends on the content. I usually use it at the beginning of the sentence maybe meaning ” allegedly “….whether to believe or not to believe rumors/gossip.
        The word dude, I have been using since the late 80’s…but I make it fair. I call the ladies chicks. Lol

  6. I got so tired of seeing the same adjectives on Facebook, like beautiful and gorgeous that I went to the thesaurus and made a list of other adjectives I could use. Stunning is pretty popular too. And really, how often is something truly stunning? I’m not stunned that often. My ex husband was extremely enamoured with Wow, often repeated it three times, wow wow wow.

  7. Fun post Jean. I had a female boss who used the word “Really” by itself for a large number of applications. Of necessity, as her Regional Safety Director, I often reported to her in person many times in a day. She could use “Really” so many ways it was mind boggling. And yet i would hesitate to say she over used the word because it had so many meanings for her. It could signify happy yet unexpected, ( exclamation upon hearing good news) doubt (are you sure?), dissatisfaction(don’t feed me that bulls**t), sarcasm(do you really expect me to believe that?), pride (as in really i did that), interest,( please tell me more), truth ( despite what you may believe I’m telling the truth), and so on. ha! She was the first person I’d ever met who could use one word in so many ways.

    Personally, other than the word “I” , I (see?) don’t think that I overuse any particular word consistently. What I do do, however, is over use the puctuation mark hyphen ( – ). I know I do it, mostly because I speak that way – with pauses. Unless I change the way I speak, I am not sure I can change that. (see that? – four “I”‘s in a sentence – whew!)

    Great post Jean. Thanks.

    1. Hi Paul, I was thinking just before I read your comment that the comments to this particular post have given me more laughs than any other.

      Maybe ‘really’ isn’t as bad as all that, after all!!!!
      The hyphen doesn’t grate with me at all, though I suppose if it was cropping up every few words, it would become a bit of a pain.

      Yes, ‘I’ is everywhere ~ and ‘me, mine, myself. Maybe we should talk about ‘one said …’ are in the passive voice or ….. —–!!!

  8. (wonderful photo!)
    Word-wise, no one mentioned like, “like” –? Or does that just get used when speaking? In writing I try to get rid of “very”, in speaking it’s the extra “um, you-know” that trips me up.

    1. Hi Sandy, glad you like the photo. Must say it’s a favourite of mine.
      ‘Like’ is everywhere in speech here in Ireland too, but not so much in writing.
      ‘Very’ is a divil in writing and I empathise with your efforts. It’s strange I hadn’t thought all that much about the speaking aspect of things. I feel another post coming on VERY rapidly.

        1. ‘Lovely’ is an interesting one. I was only reminding my son yesterday how my father used to say ‘very lovely.’ It usually applied to what he saw as a ‘very lovely’ item of clothing like a soft wool cardigan.

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