Words We Overuse

I made a mid-year resolution on July 1 -- do you do those? -- I try -- to shake five or so words out of my vocabulary, or at least the constant rotation they seem to occupy.

For real, I overuse the following words too much, in both my writing and in conversation: big, favorite, probably, like, really, what? (as in wut????), and awesome.

Like Fair Finley is advised to not say like and just too much in the Wilfar books -- both words soften and undermine her intent -- I'm giving myself a hardcore pep talk on the words I go to too often.

Favorite might be the worst of the bunch for me. I find that so many things are my favorite that nothing is.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- favorite is positive, for sure, and I like to think it connotes how fully I engage with whatever I'm doing/enjoying (at least I try). But the fact is that I need to find a way to describe a top-level category in which the things I love, but which can't be classified as my very favorite, can exist.

If you have ideas, I'm open!

What's your word you overuse? Is there a good substitute? Or, in the end, do you dig your word too much to fully drop it?

Truth be told, you'll never see me totally drop favorite here at Wilfair HQ. It's my favorite word.

source: free dictionary


Ginny said...

I overuse "Really??" Didn't realize how much I said it until it started coming out of my son's mouth!

Wilfair Book said...

Ginny, that's funny about your son! I sometimes say things that I know my mom says a lot.

I'm also inclined to pick up on stuff my friend Tracy says, because she is cool and knows a lot of lingo. I guess I'm trying to be a cool kid, too. I admit it.

do dah said...

i consciously overuse cuss words, because i think having taboo words is kind of stupid and pretend that i can make them banal through overuse. this is not exactly the same thing, of course. i am forever sad that i can't cuss as well as that one character in rudyard kipling's "kim." sigh, to be creative with a blue streak...

Wilfair Book said...

I try and use old-fashioned cuss words -- "leapin' jeepers!" -- but they don't come naturally. Actual cuss words come more naturally, though I'm more of a private swearer vs. public.

I do like the word "cuss" though, probably more than most cuss words. It's just fun to say, is all.

Favorite spin on "cuss": The word "clustercuss" in "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

do dah said...

i've heard "clustercuss" before, and enjoy it. haven't seen "the fantastic mr. fox" yet, though.

i'm pretty sure someone made fun of me once for calling them cuss words. i have no idea what they would've preferred, which annoys me. the only other terms i've heard are curse words (which i think should be limited to actually calling down "a plague on both your houses!") and profanity.

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