Posted by: episystechpubs | April 27, 2017

Editor’s Corner: Six Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence

Good morning!

I viewed an interesting slideshow titled Six Words that Can Ruin Your Sentence. I know that some of the words in the slideshow are on your list of pet peeves, because you’ve told me. And I know I’m probably preaching to the choir, but we could all use this reminder: avoid the following six words. They weaken your writing (and speech), and people find them annoying.

The following words and the explanations are taken directly from a Dictionary.com slideshow. Click here to see it.

· Actually
Crutch words are words that we slip into sentences in order to give ourselves more time to think, or to emphasize a statement. Over time, they become unconscious verbal tics. Most often, crutch words do not add meaning to a statement. Actually is the perfect example of a crutch word. It is meant to signify something that exists in reality, but it is more often used as a way to add punch to a statement (as in, "I actually have no idea").

· Literally
This adverb should be used to describe an action that occurs in a strict sense. Often, however, it is used inversely to emphasize a hyperbolic or figurative statement: "I literally ran 300 miles today." Literally is one of the most famously used crutch words in English.

· Basically
This word is used to signal truth, simplicity, and confidence, like in "Basically, he made a bad decision." It should signify something that is fundamental or elementary, but too often this word is used in the context of things that are far from basic in order to create a sense of authority and finality.

· Honestly
This crutch word is used to assert authority or express incredulity, as in, "Honestly, I have no idea why he said that." However, it very rarely adds honesty to a statement.

· Like
The cardinal sinner of lazy words like is interspersed in dialogue to give a speaker more time to think or because the speaker cannot shake the habit of using the word. Like should describe something of the same form, appearance, kind, character, or amount. But, very often, it is used involuntarily in conversation, just like um.

· Obviously
This word should signify an action that is readily observable, recognized, or understood. Speakers tend to use it, however, to emphasize their point with regards to things that aren’t necessarily obvious: "Obviously he should have thrown the ball to first base."

Enjoy your day!

Donna Bradley Burcher | Senior Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.278.0432 | Extension: 765432

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