Great writers use strong and meaningful words and stay away from the vague and lazy ones. Vague and lazy words make your prose weak, and sadly, many, and especially new, writers fill their sentences with these words.
Each word must count. Each word must be meaningful. There’s no room for vague and lazy words. So today, I have complied the top five weak words.
I hate this verb. Look at my dictionary’s definitions of this word:
Overall, this verb is weak and vague. There are so many strong words that can replace it.
“I got the book.”
“I picked up the book.”
“I snatched the book.”
“I got to the store.”
“I walked to the store.”
“I ran to the store.”
“I strutted to the store”
Not only are these new verbs are better, each one shows character and personality to the main subject.
- & 3. Things/Stuff
Things and stuff are nonspecific objects and don’t have any meaning. While the writer knows what things and stuff are referring to, the reader doesn’t. The reader shouldn’t have to waste time figuring out what you mean by things and stuff.
“I learned a lot of stuff school today.”
“I learned about quantum physics today.”
“We will need a lot of things for this trip.”
“We will need tents, sleeping bags, and snacks.”
I hate this verb very, very, very much. It’s the vaguest and laziest adverb out there. If you have to use very for emphasis, you’re not using strong words or compiling strong sentences.
“I’m very tired.”
“We walked very quickly.”
“Her performance was very great!”
“Her performance was remarkable!”
Honestly, this verb doesn’t bother me as much as the others, but there are hundreds of better words to replace it, such as walk, run, hurry, rush, strut, job, amble, tiptoe, etc.
Note: It’s okay to use these words in dialogue. I expect someone to say, “I went to bed late last night and got up early. I have so many things to do, and I’m very tired!”