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Here Are the 10 Most Overused Words in Your Writing

Updated on December 22, 2020Writing Tips
The Most Overused Words

Day-to-day communication can get boring. There are only so many “Sounds good” and “Let me know” emails, texts, and Slack messages you can send and read each day without your eyes glazing over.

While there are some communications that have to use plain language to be accurate, there are ways to spice up your texts and emails while keeping them concise. Adjectives are an easy place to start. Vague or repetitive adjectives can turn reading an email into a chore, while strong, specific ones can encourage your recipients to take notice.

We recently examined the most frequent adjectives used in a single day on all Grammarly products. These are the words you use to describe the things you’re talking about—other opportunities, many different solutions, good job. Here are the most common ones and some exciting alternatives that will make your writing—and your ideas—stand out.

1 Other

This word appeared over five million times in a day across Grammarly products. It’s understandable why — “other” is applicable to basically any situation where you’re trying to figure something out with a person. You can ask for “any other suggestions,” solicit “other opinions,” or ask someone for “other times” that work for them.

Try these alternatives: alternative times, further suggestions, different opinions.

2 More

“More” is one of those catchall terms. In some cases, “more” can mean the same thing as “other.” Sometimes, this is just the most accurate word to use, so don’t worry too much about trying to get this one out of rotation. Check out “other” for some alternatives.

Try these alternatives: additional perspectives, incremental improvements, greater context

3 New

New products, new information, new person. We’re encountering new things every day. But “new” could refer to things like time, technology, or an update. Specify what kind of “new” you mean, and use that word instead.

Try these alternatives: state-of-the-art technology, updated document, modern processes.


4 Good

“Good” is just good enough. Next time you qualify something as “good,” think about how good it is. You could be referring to something that’s slightly better than something else, something that’s suitable, or something that’s really good. Chances are, there’s a word to suit each situation.

Try these alternatives: excellent solution, decent option, worthy substitute.

5 Best

Similar to “good,” “best” isn’t the only way to provide a superlative. Are you looking for the top-quality pair of socks, or the pair of socks that are perfect for you? Both of these pairs of socks could be the “best.”

Try these alternatives: perfect choice, incomparable product, leading expert.

6 Many

“Many” may seem like a go-to option when referring to an indeterminate group of things. But if you have an idea of the volume of what you’re talking about, it’s better to narrow it down. If you don’t, there are additional, interesting ways to express a vague number.

Try these alternatives: a multitude of ideas, a handful of times, numerous occasions, thousands of data points

7 Important

We all believe our emails are important. But you can almost guarantee that your readers’ eyes will skip right past the word “important,” since they see it so often. Distinguish your information by giving it a colorful description—but don’t go overboard on it.

Try these alternatives: critical steps, urgent action, essential information.

8 Great

“Great” is a stronger word than “good,” but not by much. If you’re already expressing enthusiasm for something, set it apart.

Try these alternatives: strong ideas, fantastic opportunity, wonderful work.

9 First

“First” is the initial (see what we did there?) word most people think of when starting a list. If you really are listing a series of items or steps, don’t worry too much about using this one. But similar words can get the job done.

Try these alternatives: initial conclusion, principal person, number one priority.

10 Able

You may not think of “able” as an oft-used adjective, but this word appears whenever you ask someone if they will “be able” to complete a task. Next time you want to ask someone if they’ll “be able” to do something, use another phrase.

Try these alternatives: can you support this?, can you manage this task?, can you handle this project?

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