No writer escapes their writing career without a few patterns they lean on. And that doesn’t just apply to novelists and journalists. Even if your writing career mostly takes the form of emails, slide decks, and direct messages, you probably have some persistent writing quirks that find their way into everything.
While it’s normal to have words or phrases you repeat, it’s beneficial to catch and subvert overused words and weak word choices, especially if most of your writing goes to the same audience. Without keeping your writing fresh, your readers will come to anticipate your repetitive style and may not read your missives as closely.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to have an editor on call to review every email. So how do you catch your most commonly overused words and phrases?
Grammarly’s suggestions can help—here’s how.
Catch overused words
Words that often seem like the most obvious choice are also frequently overused.
Take “important,” for instance: If you’re writing an email with a few key action items and each task is described as important, it’s unclear how your recipient should distinguish tasks from one another in terms of urgency, difficulty, or priority. If there’s a high-priority task that all the others depend on, it helps to pick a more precise word.
Grammarly’s engagement suggestions will help find commonly overused words like these in your writing and suggest that you replace them with more specific words.
important essential step on the way to success.
Replace weak phrases with strong word choices
If you’re writing a lot, or you’re writing in a rush, it’s easy to fall back on go-to intensifiers like “really” or “very.” But similar to imprecise words like “important,” vague phrases like “very good” or “really helpful” end up losing their intensity.
Grammarly’s engagement suggestions can help you catch these unclear phrases and replace them with stronger, more unique words. “Very good” could become “perfect”; “really helpful” could become “beneficial.”
Here are a few other ways to catch your own writing patterns:
- Ask a colleague to look over your next project or email.
- Keep a list of your patterns that you’ve identified, and check the list each time you write.
- Look up synonyms for overused words in a thesaurus.