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#InfographicInspiration: Overused Words

#InfographicInspiration: Overused Words published on 19 Comments on #InfographicInspiration: Overused Words

If you’re like me, you have a few words or phrases that you find yourself using too much. When I make my final passes through anything I write, I watch for these overused words and rephrase whenever possible.

I’ve become pretty good at finding my overused phrases. If you have difficulty finding them in your documents, try pasting the entire text of your document into a word cloud app like TagCrowd. Set the tool to “Show frequencies” so that you can see the number of times you use the words.

Be smart about your word clouds however. It’s normal for words like the topic of your document to be repeated frequently. Suppose you’re writing a proposal for a new way to manufacture widgets. In that case, you’d expect the word widgets to be used frequently. There would be no need to change it.

What kinds of words are you likely to want to change? That’s where today’s #InfographicInspiration comes in. The image shows 44 Overused Words and Phrases to Be Aware Of and suggests alternative words to use instead. One more tip: You want to have variety in your documents, but don’t let this list of overused words and phrases block your writing. Go ahead and use whatever comes to mind in your first draft. Use the list when you are revising and editing.

If you want to comment, share details on what you always check for when you proofread. For me, for instance, I have to check my use of not/now. I am notorious for typing not when I mean to type now. Point in case: I once sent out a message to everyone who used our company’s software announcing that “The new release was not available.” Talk about embarrassing! What mistakes do you always double-check for?

44 Overused Words & Phrases To Be Aware Of (Infographic)
Source: www.grammarcheck.net

 

Note: This infographic needs a text-based transcript. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.


 

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Danielle Lehman
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Danielle Lehman

I found the infographic full of overused words very relatable. Many of those words I tend to use a lot in papers and I always have to go through my writing and make sure that I do not have a lot of the same words. Out of the list from the infographic, the words that I usually use way too much are, like and lots. Some words from the list such as utilize and orientate, I feel like I hardly ever use in my writing so I never have to worry about overusing those words.

When I proofread my papers I always look for words that are overused and I will try to change some of them to a synonym when I can. I also make sure that sentences right after each other do not start with the same word, unless it just has to be that way and there is no way to reword the sentences. I tend to always have to change the beginning of my sentence because many times I start it off with “however”. When I proofread I also try to check my punctuation (especially for commas) and my grammar.

Kristina Super
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Kristina Super

I found this infographic to be very relevant because I, like most writers, seem to have the habitual issue of repeating words over and over again throughout a piece of writing that I develop. For me personally, I most often see that I do have the tendency to repeat a majority of the words listed above in the infographic. To alleviate this repetition, I sometimes use google to search for a synonym of the word that I am repetitively using within my writing to make the writing flow and also seem more intellectual.

Other areas I have to check for thoroughly before submitting a final draft of a piece of writing is ensuring that my sentences make complete sense to an outside source. I sometimes have a problem with being too wordy and not making my thoughts very clear. The wordiness of my writing can sometimes distract away from what I am truly trying to communicate to the reader.

Mariel+Jastrebsky
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Mariel+Jastrebsky

I enjoyed this infographic because that is honestly one of the main things I always struggle with in my writing. If I find a word I am overusing, then I generally go back and manually look for them. I think using the app like TagCrowd would be more efficient to use than to go back and look for each word. I’ll try to start using it!

In general, the word I use a lot is “important” as well as “very” and I need to look for synonyms instead of just using those words because it can wear down the reader. When they see something that’s repeated so many times, it begins to be the only thing that they are paying attention to. I feel that the infographic gave me many different options when it comes to replacing the overused words. Some of the words in the infographic provided us with more sophisticated words to use instead of something like “kind of” you could use “rather” and I found that to be interesting and useful.

Thomas+Ritter
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Thomas+Ritter

I found this article to be extremely relatable. I know for a fact that over the course of my schooling that I have made some of these mistakes before. Furthermore, I am sure that I will make them in the future. The one big mistake that I tend to make the most seems to be using the word, “Nice”. I used to always just use that word until my high school English teacher told me to knock it off. Then for every paper since then, I have tried to double-check my usage of the word. Also, I know I seem to make most of my mistakes whenever I am just trying to get the work done without really putting effort into the paper. Then once I have a rough draft riddled with mistakes, it takes a lot longer to revise due to all the minor mistakes.

Mark+Marut
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Mark+Marut

I think the TagCrowd app is extremely useful, because it is kind of a hassle to go into word and have it highlight the same words throughout the document. Also when proof reading my work, even when I go over words I use frequently, it does not seem to interfere with my train of thought, or cause me to think about changing them because I am so used to using those words, and feel that it is normal. Some of the words I tend to overuse, which many of them are in this infographic, are “very”, “however”, “actually”, “additionally”, “in addition to”. I am sure there are many more I use that I have not even realized up to this point in my writing career, but now with this app, I may be able to target those words and change them in my future writing.

Another work I found interesting that was in this list is “like”. I know I use this word a lot when I am speaking, but when I am writing, I do not actually find that I write it out. When I have looked over other people’s writings in this class, and previous English classes, I have never really noticed that being a problem, but perhaps more people do it than I think. I am curious as to if there is a significant number of people in this technical writing course that find they actually type out the word “like” in their writing.

Cassie+Bienert
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Cassie+Bienert

It is refreshing to hear that a college professor makes mistakes as well! I struggle with transition words in my writing and I always have to reread to make sure I don’t continue repeating the same things. I tend to use “thus,” “consequently,” “therefore” a over and over. Im glad I don’t use “Due to the fact of.” Ive always thought it sounded too wordy and no I am verified. I didn’t even realize half the mistakes I made until looking over this list.

Usually when I read my paper I look for words that sound dull and I usually just right click, synonym, and pick a new word.

The one I would have to disagree with is the comment about etc. I dont think its lazy. I use it in scientific writing to imply that there are other factors, variables, symptoms, explanations, affects, and so on, that I did not include but could be true as well. It would be too much to list everything but you want the audience to understand that whole story. (I realize the irony that I could have used etc. instead of and so on…)

Mackenzie+Knox
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Mackenzie+Knox

I thoroughly enjoyed this infographic. I know I don’t make all the common mistakes listed but there were some I know I am guilty of but now know how to change. The only point that I wish I had clarification on was the gender pronouns. I typically always use they because it can be considered a gender-neutral pronoun no matter the plurality. However, they mention using they only when appropriate but do not define what that means.

The biggest thing I look for when proof-reading is flow and logically structured. My mind can be slightly jumbled sometimes and the best way to collect my thoughts when this happens is to word vomit them on the page and go from there. Therefore, I generally need to revisit the entire work to ensure it logically flows from beginning to end.

Casey
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Casey

I think using the singular they is generally the best option. The only case where I would hesitate to use it would be when plurality matters and can’t be easily inferred from context; but this is such an unusual situation that I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head.

I go so far as to use “they” even when writing and speaking about a subject whose gender is known, again unless gender matters in the specific context, I find that in most cases gender isn’t, or shouldn’t be, relevant at all. And an interesting thing happens once you start using “they” everywhere; the deep cultural entrenchment of gender into almost everything starts to become quite glaringly obvious.

Clement Aboagye Boateng
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Clement Aboagye Boateng

I can relate to this infographic post because I repeat words so many times in my writings. I use words like “always, significant, a lot” more than I am supposed to. I go back to cross-check and use synonyms as much as I can. Using the same words over and over can be destructive to the reader. When having a speech, I tend to use the word “actually” way too much. I think it just comes out without realizing it. I thought it was okay until I read this post. I will try my best to eliminate it from my speeches.

shuai+liu
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shuai+liu

This infographic is very relevant because I have a bad habit that I often write an article with repeating words over and over again, and some unnecessary oral phases. Especially, the transition words, like but. I used to write a paragraph with 3 or 4 ‘but’s. After, I read my own paragraph that sound very weird. I have reviewed the comments from the students. I was surprised to know that there are many of students who are the native English speakers had the same concern as me.

Katie
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Katie

I had a history teacher in high school who was such a stickler for using the same word over and over. When you get enough points off your papers, the idea tends to stick. Nowadays, I’m very cognizant of my word choice, especially if I read something out loud and can hear the frequency of use. I don’t think that I use almost any of the phrases from the infographic, mostly because I don’t think they sound correct. However, I definitely have trouble with certain phrases like “as well as” and using hyphens in my sentences. I try my best to edit through what I write and re-work the numerous occurrences, but oftentimes it’s still a problem.

Youngsu+Kim
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Youngsu+Kim

I think this infographic is very helpful. English is my second language and I feel like I often overuse some specific words due to limitation of my vocabulary so I tend to search for the synonyms of the words that I find overused. By rephrasing my writings, I can also find the typical typo and grammatical error since I read through my document thoroughly to rephrase every single sentence if appropriate and possible.
So my suggestion for people like me is to find the overused words in the documents and search for the suitable synonym. I think it will help a lot.

Daniel+Ott
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Daniel+Ott

I have noticed that there are definitely a few words that I over use, without even realizing it. I find that I often use the same transition words too frequently. For example, I tend to use the words additionally and also very often. When I proofread my writing I always have to read it through again to make sure it doesn’t sound awkward or repetitive. I have also found that I have a problem with using run on sentences. So, I always have to double check my use of commas, and the word and.
When I proofread my papers I always read it in my head, and if something sounds a little off in my head, then I will read it out loud to double check. Other things I check for in my papers are spelling mistakes, and overly wordy sentences.

Christian+Arroz
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Christian+Arroz

This infographic resonates with me so much! I use most of the words too much in conversation and in writing. I tend to overuse transition words such as, “Additionally,” “Consequently,” and “Then,” at the beginning of sentences when I could just break up my ideas. I never use plus or kind of/sort of in writing because it appears unprofessional to me, however, that doesn’t stop me from speaking them on a daily basis. Words such as “like”I have been trying to cut out of my vocabulary for a few years unless absolutely necessary because it is a filler most of the time and useless in conversation.

In proofreading, I look for my amount of the word “it” mainly to try and cut the word down as much as possible. Also, I look for places to input commas so that the reader can go through my paper with ease and not just run through the information I want to emphasize.

Shashank
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Shashank

I’m guilty of using at least a few of the over used words/phrases mentioned in the info graphic. I’ve always learnt to use transition between my paragraphs, so I tend to use words like “Firstly”, “Secondly”, etc, a lot in my writing. Sometimes, I also change words like “because” to a different version such as “Due to the fact” (which is apparently over used). I’ll keep this in mind when writing something.
While proofreading, if I feel I have over used a word I run the find command on word to look for the number of instances I have used that particular word/phrase. Sometimes I also use an online tool to measure the frequency of my words.

Zachary Cohen
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Zachary Cohen

I found this infographic to be both useful and insightful. There’s a lot of words and phrases on this list that I know that I commonly use in my writing. For instance, I frequently use intensifiers in my sentences as a way to convey the level of importance or emotion in that sentence, but I suppose that it isn’t necessary. However, I do think it would be difficult and maybe impossible to avoid utilizing some of the words and phrases on this list because some of them are actually important phrases that can give a sentence a whole different meaning or connotation. For example, on the list it says not to use the word “only” and then gives the example that “he kicked the ball only 10 yards” should just be “he kicked the ball 10 yards”. But, if I knew nothing about the context of this sentence, without the word “only” I may be thinking that 10 yards was an impressive kick, so in this case I would say that the word “only” doesn’t simply make this sentence better, but it is actually vital to the connotation of this sentence.

Faizal+Zulkifli
Guest
Faizal+Zulkifli

I kind of have a mixed response for this article above because at first it seems helpful when looking at the first 10 overused phrases but when it goes on until 40+ I already feel like that the significance becomes lesser. Too much information if I must say however there are some useful tips especially in the beginning of the list where it appears to be like a Thesaurus giving out some synonyms and alternatives for those phrases. The thing that I always have a problem with my essay though is the overuse of the word ‘which’ or ‘where’ and I sometimes misplaced between them both too. I always have to make sure that it is not wrongly used in a sentence and whether it is really needed to be added or not.

Kimberly
Guest
Kimberly

Like many of my peers, I have a habit of overusing many of the words that are listed in this infographic. I have realized this in both my writing and my speech, especially after spending a summer with a group of individuals that were bothered so much by the overuse of certain words and phrases that they would actually call you out on it. I try to eliminate the use of many of these, but sometimes find it difficult to find an alternative. This infographic will be a useful tool in the future and I intend to save it for those times when I run into this issue. It will be convenient to have a source that has recommendations on different words and phrases to use and those that can be eliminated. I believe it will also help me to recognize those words and phrases that I have never considered changing or eliminating before.

Casey
Guest
Casey

I’ve noticed several people saying that they replace words with synonyms when they’re proofreading. I used to do that too. I’m not quite sure when I stopped; but I think as I got older my vocabulary has increased, mostly from reading more complex books. A greater vocabulary really helps me say precisely what I want to the first time I write it, so my writing is naturally varied enough and I don’t really have to go back and look up synonyms. I suggest anyone who struggles with that problem to try increasing the complexity of your reading.

Regarding the infographic itself, I disagree with the arguments made about several items on the list. Some have been mentioned by other people, but nobody has talked about “and/or” yet. This phrase is very important for technical writing, where it’s the best way to precisely communicate “inclusive or” in prose. As a software engineer, I use it whenever I need to communicate that precise concept, which is frequently.

Overall, the takeaway I got from most of the arguments in this chart is that we often include unnecessary words and should prefer writing concisely. I don’t think any of these words or phrases necessarily hamper communication too much beyond simply increasing verbosity.

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