Pay It Forward · Tips · Writing

Author Resource: Repeat Words

When you’re editing, there are a million words that we tend to write, that are not needed in a novel. Some are obscure words that we generally use in speech, but which don’t belong in writing, but others are purely superfluous junk that can and should be cut out, to make your writing cleaner – and help you stay under a certain word count. (Looks to self – I’m notorious for being over word count)


Here’s a list of words and phrases that I’ve found it useful to cut out or change. I’m not saying to never use them, but to use them wisely. Some are only suitable when using a historical speech pattern (as my recent WIP requires):

☆ just

☆ stuff

☆ got

☆ again

☆ before

☆ nearly

☆ even

☆ thing/s

☆ went

☆ very

☆ used to

☆ have got

☆ almost

☆ quite

☆ pretty much

☆ do not/will not/has not

☆ on account of

☆ changing can’t/don’t/won’t/I’m/I’ll/he’ll/he’s to cannot, do not, will not, would never, I am, he will, he is -> for a historical text

☆ as if

☆ plus

☆ kind of/sort of

☆ each and every

☆ as to whether

☆ most words ending in ‘lly’ unless necessary (thankfully, faithfully, actually, really, casually, basically, totally, essentially)

☆ a little

☆ and also

☆ also

☆ not sure -> unsure, uncertain, not convinced

☆ whatever it was -> whichever

☆ going to have to -> must

☆ not either -> neither

☆ instead of

☆ however

☆ ironically

☆ incidentally

☆ more over

☆ descriptive words that tend to be over used (smile/d, tease/d, chuckle/d, frown/ed, light/ly, tender/ly, gentle, gently, soft/ly, sweet/ly, figure/ed, glance/d, quiet/ly, shrug/ged, stare/d, look/ed, gaze/d)

☆ words in place of said that can be over used (sigh/ed, laugh/ed, guess/ed, agree/d, wonder/ed, admit/ted, explain/ed, ask/ed, realise/d, groan/ed, complained, disapproved, insisted, promised, confessed)

☆ fine

☆ okay

☆ mostly

☆ husband/wife (especially in a same-sex relationship story)

☆ bloody

☆ lover

☆ stunning/beautiful/gorgeous/pretty/attractive/sexy

☆ companion

☆ good

☆ great

☆ boyfriend/girlfriend (also important in a same sex relationship story)

☆ too many he’s or she’s -> it gets confusing, when trying to figure out which characters are speaking/thinking

☆ close to

☆ appears/seems

☆ nearly

☆ somewhat/somehow

☆ ly words – suddenly/finally/eventually

☆ which is/that has


You might also be interested in these:

Trouble Sticking to Your Word Count? Try These Editing Tricks

Plague Words and phrases

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

How to Cut Thousands of Words Without Shedding a Tear

Word Count Limit Got You Down? Try These 6 Editing Tips

2 thoughts on “Author Resource: Repeat Words

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