Tag Archives: words

Replace These Words in Your Writing

Writing is hard, and weird, and in the scheme of human existence pretty new. We’ve been talking for maybe half a million years, writing for just about 5,000. So sometimes we write stuff that we’d never say aloud. We use a complicated or “smart-sounding” word when a simpler word would work better. New York Times editor Dan Saltzstein listed some great examples on Twitter. They pop up in news media, but also in “business speak.” If you’re trying to write effectively, watch out for these:

Source: Replace These Words in Your Writing

Twitter users suggested many more. (The > is a “greater than” sign, not an arrow. The words on the left are better.)

We’d like to add:

  • Name > dub
  • Turn > render
  • Big > massive
  • Maybe > perhaps

These aren’t rules, of course; they’re just suggestions, language is fluid, yadda yadda. Almost all the “lesser” words above have good uses. Save them for those uses. To leverage something is specifically to “use it to its maximum advantage.” Something sprawling is “spreading out over a large area in an untidy or irregular way.” Suits are bespoke, and medieval knights get slain. Okay, you’ve been waiting to add your own—go for it.

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How to Make Taco Bell Salt

1/25/19 1:00PM

About the author

Nick Douglas

Staff Writer, Lifehacker | Nick has written for Gawker, the Awl, the Toast, the Daily Dot, Urlesque, and the web series “Jaywalk Cop.” He currently runs the horror-comedy podcast “Roommate From Hell.”

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Filed under 2019, Writing Tip Wednesday

How language shapes how we see our world

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Filed under 2019, language

Writing tip Wednesday: “Fighting words”

Fighting words


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Filed under 2018, Writing Tip Wednesday, writing tips

Haiku to you Thursday: “Embrace”

How can I say this? /

My words will never touch it. /

But my embrace will.

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Filed under 2017, Haiku to You Thursday, poetry by author

Top misspelled word in each state

Bananas or banannas? These are the top misspelled words in each state

Where do you fit in?


Mary Bowerman , USA TODAY Network

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/05/29/scripps-national-spelling-beetop-misspelled-words-state/352919001/

EDITOR’S NOTE:  A previous version of this story stated Wisconsin’s most misspelled word was “tomorrow” based on Google-provided data. A Google update with more current data found that the most misspelled word is actually Wisconsin.

Spelling champions from across the country are preparing to compete this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

While we’ve all cringed after misspelling a word in a work email or a text, the National Spelling Bee competitors will be asked to spell words that make the word “chihuahua” look like a walk in the park.

In honor of those who aren’t as gifted as the National Spelling Bee champs, Google pulled the most misspelled words in each state so far this year.

Here’s a look at the most misspelled search words in each state:

Alabama: pneumonia
Alaska: schedule
Arizona: tomorrow
Arkansas: chihuahua
California: beautiful
Colorado: tomorrow
Connecticut: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Delaware: hallelujah
Washington, D.C. : ninety
Florida: receipt
Georgia: gray
Hawaii: people
Idaho: quote
Illinois: pneumonia
Indiana: hallelujah
Iowa: vacuum
Kansas: diamond
Kentucky: beautiful
Louisiana: giraffe
Maine: pneumonia
Maryland: special
Massachusetts: license
Michigan: pneumonia
Minnesota: beautiful
Mississippi: nanny
Missouri: maintenance
Montana: surprise
Nebraska: suspicious
Nevada: available
New Hampshire: difficult
New Jersey: twelve
New Mexico: bananas
New York: beautiful
North Carolina: angel
North Dakota: dilemma
Ohio: beautiful
Oklahoma: patient
Oregon: sense
Pennsylvania: sauerkraut
Rhode Island: liar
South Carolina: chihuahua
South Dakota: college
Tennessee: chaos
Texas: maintenance
Utah: disease
Vermont: Europe
Virginia: delicious
Washington: pneumonia
West Virginia: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Wisconsin: Wisconsin
Wyoming: priority




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Writing tip Wednesday: “Say what?”

What you say (or write) says something about you or your characters.

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Haiku to you Thursday: “Pain”

Pain is a song /

whose melody is as true /

as its words are inadequate.

[Editor’s note: a modified haiku structure, varying a little from the 5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable structure. Still, I believe it carries the spirit of a haiku.]

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Filed under 2016, Haiku to You Thursday, poetry by author