Monday, March 17, 2008

Overused phrases

I'm certain most writers have favorite phrases and word combinations that they use without thinking. I had one of mine slap me in the face last night when I was editing a story that I had written for a market to which I've never submitted.

In a five-sentence block of text I used the phrase "and then" three times. Then I searched the entire 5,100-word story and found it several more times. I revised every occurrence but two and now find myself wondering if I overuse "and then" in everything I write, or just this one story?


Keith Raffel said...

With me, it's the verb "nod." Isn't global search great?

Graham Powell said...

"And then what did you do?" he said, nodding.

Michael Bracken said...

Global search is wonderful. The most difficult part of using it is recognizing when I've overused a phrase or a word so that I know to use global search to ferret out my abuses.

And then I I told Graham to nod off.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

mine is the word "as" which drives everyone else in the writing group nuts.

And what the heck is "global search" and how do I use it? Make this simple as I can barely work word you know.

Michael Bracken said...

"Global search' is just a fancy way of describing the "find" function in Word. Select "Edit" from the toolbar. When the drop-down menu drops down, scroll down to "Find." Follow the instructions on your screen.

"Find/Replace" is another usual function. If, for example, you want to change a character's name from "Fran" to "Chelsea," you can make Word do it for you. Just be careful how you describe the change you want to make or you might change more than you intend to change and "Franchise" could become "Chelseachise."

Kevin R. Tipple said...

Okay, find and replace I do know how to do. Thanks!