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#Infographic: Overused Words

5 Comments on #Infographic: Overused Words

If you’re like me, you have a few words or phrases that you find yourself using too much. When I make my final passes through anything I write, I watch for these overused words and rephrase whenever possible.

I’ve become pretty good at finding my overused phrases. If you have difficulty finding them in your documents, try pasting the entire text of your document into a word cloud app like Wordle. The words that you overuse will be a larger size. Be smart about your word clouds however. It’s normal for words like the topic of your document to be repeated frequently. Suppose you’re writing a proposal for a new way to manufacture widgets. In that case, you’d expect the word widgets to be used frequently. There would be no need to change it.

What kinds of words are you likely to want to change? That’s where today’s #Infographic comes in. The image shows 44 Overused Words and Phrases to Be Aware Of and suggests alternative words to use instead. One more tip: You want to have variety in your documents, but don’t let this list of overused words and phrases block your writing. Go ahead and use whatever comes to mind in your first draft. Use the list when you are revising and editing.

44 Overused Words & Phrases To Be Aware Of (Infographic)


Note: This infographic needs a text-based transcript. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.




I am one who uses phrases like, in order to, or as to, which are unnecessary to the sentence and should be kept out to keep writing simple. I have found that trying to be aware of when you are writing/typing out certain phrases you are prone to overusing so the next time you try and fit it in your paper, you think about the phrase and how repetitive it is in your assignment. It is helpful to reread a paragraph after you have written it. Reading what you just wrote helps make catches you may not have noticed from a writers perspective, but as a reader it stands out. The words listed are also words I tend to use when I am stressing about meeting a length requirement. I think when we feel like we will not be able to meet the length, our papers can fill with overused words and hurt the overall presentation of the paper.

I can point out at least five of these words on the list that I am guilty of in my paper. The advice to use a word cloud is incredibly clever; I am going to use one during my final revision process. When writing a first draft, it’s easy to get caught up in repeating words, especially when you feel rushed or stressed. In order to see the paper with a fresh eye, it requires the author to take a step back for a few hours, come back, and try to read with a critical eye.

I have the biggest difficulty with the word “like” and and filler words such as “that” and “really”. My solution to the “like” problem is by replacing it with the word “such as”, because it works in almost every situation. With “that” and “really”, I try to remove them from my papers unless I need the extra emphasis.

This infographic reminded me of a book I read called “Nabokov’s Favorite Word is Mauve”. It combines writing with statistics to analyze different writing styles and patterns. One of the patterns is addresses is frequency of word use. While all the above mentioned words might be overused by people in general, I think we should keep in mind that we each probably exhibit over-use with different words. We should look at our own writing to determine what words we are most likely to gravitate towards. One of the statistics I found interesting from the book was that women are more likely to use the word “actually” than men. And while women are use more pronouns in their writing, men are more likely to exhibit a gender bias – using the pronoun “he” more than “she”.

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