Posted by: episystechpubs | May 6, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Really Amazing

I hope you all enjoyed a fiesta of Mexican food yesterday. Today we continue with the article “15 Words You Need to Eliminate From Your Vocabulary to Sound Smarter,” by Jennie Haskamp.

· Really

Unless you’re a Valley Girl, visiting from 1985, there’s no need to use really to modify an adjective. Or a verb. Or an adverb. Pick a different word to make your point. And never repeat really, or very for that matter. That’s really, really bad writing.

· Amazing

The word means “causing great surprise or sudden wonder.” It’s synonymous with wonderful, incredible, startling, marvelous, astonishing, astounding, remarkable, miraculous, surprising, mind-blowing, and staggering. You get the point, right? It’s everywhere. It’s in corporate slogans. It dominated the Academy Awards acceptance speeches. It’s all over social media. It’s discussed in pre-game shows and post-game shows.

Newsflash: If everything is amazing, nothing is.

[KC – I’m beginning to think we can generalize some of these rules to “don’t overuse certain adjectives.” I’m sure I’d be chastised for
too many shouts of “Awesome!”]

· Always

Absolutes lock the writer into a position, sound conceited and close-minded, and often open the door to criticism regarding inaccuracies. Always is rarely true. Unless you’re giving written commands or instruction, find another word.

· Never

See: Always.

· Literally

Literally means literal. Actually happening as stated. Without exaggeration. More often than not, when the term is used, the writer means figuratively. Whatever is happening is being described metaphorically. No one actually “waits on pins and needles.” How uncomfortable would that be?

[KC – As I mentioned in my 60-Minute University presentation, when you say something was so funny you “literally peed your pants,” you’ll
be called The Lone Ranger for more than one reason.]

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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