The Writer’s Lexicon: Overused Words and Phrases

For the next couple of posts, dear readers of this blog, I will exercise the vocab lobe of the brain. For too long I have felt my vocabulary lacks tone. Its hit me whenever I try to make a point, but the point falls blank. Meanwhile, when I hear someone else make the same point, or pick up where I left off, employing choice terms and wicked turns of phrase, they seem to have success. (Yes! Even my wife! She has countered or buttressed many of my arguments, simply by working with better words.)


So, here it goes:


Common pitfalls

(a list of over used words is given, from which I will write a sentence using each word)


She owes me about ten dollars.

You absolutely need to go.

I almost hate you.

The movie was amazing.

I are baboon.

Do not assume to know your mother!

She is totally awesome.

Michael is bad.

You basically need to leave.

To be or not to be?

You better be able to sing at your next rock concert, or else.

My friend is more beautiful than yours.*

Been there done that.

Let us begin.

She is being silly.

Do you believe?

That whale ain’t so big.

Bring me another box of toner, Jack.

I can dance!

The police officer cleared her throat . . . for her.

If we do not decide today, we can always ignore the problem until tomorrow.

Essentially, you are fired.

She went to the ice cream truck and even got an ice cream.

The movie was not exciting.

We will experience something new today, I hope.

That turtle moves extremely fast, for a turtle.

That turtle moves extremely fast, for a turtle.

You may feel a small prick at the end of this–

I feel like making love . . . to you.

The woman frowned.

Get it done.

Hey, go get me another beer.

We be good.

We was great.

I have nothing to offer you.

Do you hear what I hear?

Really, honestly?

I imagine incredibly incredible and interesting things. (Here I just lumped many into one sentence, and henceforth.)

I know.

You literally laugh like a little loud look.

We notice and note a nice noisy nod, which made us nauseous and nauseated.

If only . . .

My dog is not pleasant.

That snail is quite quick.

I really only remember, you realize??

I say that you said that we seem to see a shrug from her, a scowl from him, a sigh from the back, as those up front sit and smile while making a sound, a sound like the start of a race: bang.

Taste that, then totally try to not think and touch it.

I use this unbelievable unique thingamabob.

The girl in class says she likes you, a lot, like very much.

They went to where I want to watch them wonder.



This word is so overused, according to Ms Steinemann, that it deserves a whole section. And her first example of bad writing (“Helen was beautiful.”) reminds me of a striking line from the Iliad: when two Trojan lords see Helen come out of her tower chamber, to watch the men fight, the two of them whisper: “Ah no wonder / then men of Troy and Argives under arms have suffered / years of agony all ofr her, for such a woman. / Beauty, terrible beauty!”


Beauty, terrible beauty.


Let’s see what the Doc of Lex has to teach us.


Rewrite sentences with the word “beautiful” using descriptive words that match the narrator or character:


My roommate is beautiful. NO.

The boy in the bunk above me captivates me simply with his breath, fires my imagination \ with the creak of the bed as he sleeps. YES.


Wow, what a beautiful day to go fishing. (Ironic pre-teen, to his father.) NO.

Gee-whiz, pops, you sure picked the perfect Saturday morning to go fishing, full of dumb rain and mosquitos. YES.


Not one Greek in a million could claim that Helen wasn’t beautiful. NO! YAWN!

Not one soul, between Sparta’s rugged fields and the well-built walls of Troy, could ignore that their Queen, the daughter of Zeus, moved about the world resplendent in an aura of sex. YES, MA’AM!


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