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Word Usage - Words and Phrases to Avoid When Writing

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Author: Jane Sumerset

If you're writing for a non-discerning audience, you can probably get away with a couple of grammar errors. When you're trying to craft your piece to make an impression, however, you'd want to shine that writing into a polish. Come that time, a vocabulary of words that are colloquial at best and made up at worst won't exactly serve you.

Do you ever make any of these common mistakes with your writing? Now might be a good time to drop them from your regular use.

Using irregardless as a word

Irregardless is not a word. Regardless, on its own, already means "without regard." What, then, does irregardless mean? It means you're not a good English writer, that's what!

Adding the suffix -wise to everything

Lots of common words end in "-wise." That doesn't give you the license, however, to affix it to everything. Words like "specs-wise" and "profit-wise" have no place in formal business writing, or for any form of writing in general.

Using gift as a verb

Some nouns may be used as a verb but gift, with the many action forms that can be used to express an act of giving, isn't one of them. Instead of saying "We gifted him with a new toy," you can use presented, gave, awarded, provided, confer and many more. Run your English grammar software through that sentence and stumble upon about a dozen alternative words you can use instead.

When writing any sort of piece, whether it be an article or a report, using the right words can mean the difference between a compelling read and a tedious bore. Unnecessarily repeating words, even when they bear the correct meaning, can leave your writing bland and wanting in quality.

Take this paragraph as an example:

Gadget freaks, rejoice! The company has announced that the gadget will shoot videos in native HD resolution, which you can then stream to your HD-ready TV sets for full HD enjoyment.

Contrast it to this, which replaces repeated words across the text:

Gadget freaks, rejoice! The company has announced that the device will shoot videos in native 1080p resolution, which you can then stream to your HD-ready TV sets for a complete high-def viewing experience.

How many times can you repeat a word? Generally, avoiding use of the same word within the same sentence or the one immediately after it can endow your piece with added readability. In its place, you can use a pronoun or another term that carries the same meaning.

When trying to find words that can express the same idea, there's no better tool to use than a thesaurus. Simply look for the word you're intending to substitute and look for a suitable replacement. Many English grammar software applications come with a built-in thesaurus that you can use as reference while writing your piece. The software will also likely recognize excessive repetition in your text and suggest replacements from it.

This simple trick of avoiding the use of the same words over and over can facilitate tremendous improvements in your writing.

About the author: See how innovative Perfect English writing and grammar software instantly can give you the power to write error free every day and learn how advanced NLP technology can help you to write perfect English. Visit:

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