Thursday, March 26, 2015

L is for Lazy

Margaret warns about lazy words!

Not lazy writers but about the lazy use of words. I’ve read lots of articles about this and we’re all guilty at times, which means we’re not looking at our writing closely enough. “That” is one word I’m guilty of over-using, but there are lots of others such as very, and, yes, no, had.
If only there was a program we could type our lazy word into and it would give us alternatives. I use a thesaurus but that for instance isn’t in it, and to be completely honest most of the time I can simply delete it without making any difference to the sentence. So why do I use it, I ask myself.
You might also find characters occasionally repeat themselves, even though in a slightly different way. This too is a lazy way of using the wonderful English language. 
Using these words affects the pace of your story and if, like me, you’re a fast reader you don’t want anything slowing it down. You simply want to read to the end of the book as quickly as possible.
So – writers beware. No more lazy words.


  1. Wise words, Margaret.

    Also, I've never understood if there is a reason to use 'which' instead of that 'that.' I know it's better to use "the person who," not "the person that."

  2. I've never consciously come across these situations, Ana, so I can't comment. Maybe I do it right without even thinking about it. Who's to say?

  3. I had to wean myself away from using 'that' all the time!
    I once read an explanation of when to use 'which' and when to use 'that' which left me no wiser at the end. I think they are interchangeable in most cases.

    1. I think we automatically know what sounds right, Paula.

  4. Yes, I definitely have my list of lazy words I need to get rid of. And just when I think I've got it, I come up with new ones!

  5. Paula, I think we automatically know which word is right.
    Jennifer, I had to smile at your comment about coming with new lazy words.