It's time to get rid of crutch words....
Last week I took part in a podcast about the importance of having a Newsletter if you sell online. (Thank you Kirby and Kyle!)You can listen to it HERE if you like. But it got me thinking about my writing and speaking. I've mentioned many times that during Covid I would talk to myself while beading and thus when I spoke with a real person I'd have to start every sentence with "Stop me if I told you this before!"
Not quite the same thing in writing but it got me thinking about using crutch words.
Crutch words — we're all guilty of using them. Like, seriously, it's literally so easy to just start a sentence with useless filler words and basically just keep going. See what I did there? Guilty as charged!!! So here we go....
"Like" should describe similarities between two or more things, but it has become one of the most common crutch words. "Like" is peppered throughout our sentences, and most of us aren’t even aware how often we use it. It’s so ubiquitous it’s become a replacement for “said.” Reduce your reliance on this word and you'll find your sentences flowing smoothly and with more purpose.
At one point, "seriously" implied real gravity. But these days, similar to "literally," the word "seriously" has become more of an exaggeration. That may be fine in some scenarios when you want to be sarcastic or reinforce importance. But if you're using "seriously" without truly saying anything of import, you might want to reconsider your seriousness.
“Can you just…” Maybe this is how you start some of your requests. "Just" diminishes the importance of the request or statement. If you take away “just,” you have a more powerful statement. It’s more definitive, and it sounds like you value what you’re saying. "Just" shows that what you have to say isn’t a big deal, and this can work against you.
"Actually" has suffered a similar fate as "seriously." It used to pack a punch, asserting something as the truth, but these days, "actually" has become sentence seasoning. If you lead off with, “I actually like that show,” you’re not countering a previously false statement. No one can refute it as incorrect, even if they disagree with you. So why is it in your sentence.
"Literally" may be the most misused crutch word. In the literal definition, if you take something literally, you’re taking it to mean exactly what the person said. Sadly, this crutch word has become so commonplace that most current usages of "literally" are assumed to mean "figuratively." Even the OED added a figurative definition to "literally."
"Basically" as a crutch word is used in a way opposite its true meaning. It’s supposed to denote simplicity, something that’s obvious to everyone involved. As a crutch, it’s used more often in complicated explanations where things usually aren’t as obvious as the word implies.
It’s said that people who start a sentence with "honestly" are about to say something dishonest. While this may not always be the case, it’s certainly not used to emphasize truthfulness. More often this crutch word is used to show surprise or superiority.
Here's a bonus: "Well" is a hedge word. It’s meant to soften the impact of whatever comes after it. On the other hand, “well” also decreases any value your statement might have had without the hedge. Be thoughtful when you use this one in your speech.
I like to think I'm guilty of only a few of the above but I would be lying. Honestly!
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There's no such thing as too much BLING!!!
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