I never thought of myself as a picky sort of person. After all, I’ll eat anything, travel anywhere, and I once survived an outrageous perm in the 80s. However, over the years of grading papers I’ve zeroed in on four words in particular that, scientifically speaking, are causing my hair to turn gray. That won’t do.
I kindly suggest, dear students, you avoid these four words in assignments:
- Basically. No, I don’t want to know what Aristotle is basically saying.
- So. This is often unnecessary and could be replaced with “therefore” or “it follows.” And whatever you do, do not put “So basically” together lest you sound like a Kardashian.
- Very. Another unnecessary term sprinkled about too many papers. Throw it out of your vocabulary now. Poof. It’s officially dead to you. It’s very annoying. Oops.
- Goes. What a boring verb! “He then goes on to say…” Yikes! I can’t bear to read one more sentence like this. Are you in need of some verb alternatives? Here’s a quick exercise to spruce up your papers:
Grab a notebook and at the top of the page write “Sports.” Halfway down the page write “Cooking.” Now, list all of the verbs that come to mind regarding these two: Hits, swings, scores, tackles…peppers, boils, chops, seasons, dices… You get the point. Think of ten verbs to write under each category.
Return to a draft of your work and insert two or three of these verbs. Voila!
Click here to check out more tips.