Words that Break Sentences
Avoid these words in writing good sentences...
Tally-ho, yippity-dap, and zing-zang spillip! It’s me, Aldrin again! Another blog from me, because BLOG FOR BLOG GOD!... I’m in a very odd mood this evening.
Moving on… this time, this blog will not be about my usual nerdy subjects, nor an art blog, but one of two blogs, as you can tell from the title. I’m going to clarify with you today my most hated words in a story and why I can’t stand to look at them in a block of text; words to break sentences. In terms of dialogue, all of these words can be used, depending on how you think your character would say their sentences; that part is up to you.
First off is ‘basically’. This word was originally used as an adverb of the word ‘basic’ which is a synonym for ‘essential’ or 'fundamental.' Putting this word at the beginning of your sentence is a very bad idea. It’s now lost that purpose completely and is mainly used as a filler to think about the sentence ahead. Compare these two sentences, and tell me which you think is better.
“Basically the last living dragon died right there in that cave.”
“The last living dragon died right there in that cave.”
Words that can replace ‘basically’ all depend on the context. You could say “Historically,” again, depending on context, or “Fundamentally,” to show a more crucial need and much more sense of urgency in your text.
Next is the dreaded word ‘like’. Now, don’t yell at me screaming “But Aldrin, ‘like’ is used in a lot of other terms, such as to like someone!” Alright, alright! I hear you my muffins, you’re right. In many contexts, this word isn’t a heretical word that should be burnt at the stake in the dictionary. However, in a common context, it shouldn’t be just burnt; it should be torn apart by galloping stallions when used in a story. The word ‘like’ is supposed to convey a sense of similarity. However, in recent years, it has been used for hedging sentences, such as:
“He couldn’t, like, think straight.” No! Get out! Uck! It’s a horrid word; one that I myself am trying to cure myself of in my everyday language. When used as a simile, to say “He was like a panther, stalking the undergrowth in silence.” I’m more than fine with that, or to say that a person favours something, but as a filler-word, it makes my blood churn.
Last on my list is “literally”. This word has been on my back for a long while, commonly used by people like Dan Howell in each and every sentence. It’s an adverb from the word “Literal” which means something is real and accurate, used to emphasize a point. “I was literally panicking.” However, in today’s language, it is indeed supposed to show emphasis, but pointlessly. “I literally cannot describe how happy I am!” That sentence does not, and does not ever need to have ‘literally’ in it.
For instance, let’s say you were describing a pondering and troubled man typing on a typewriter at his desk. Here’s the sentence without the filling word:
“The gentleman furiously tapped on the keys, his glassed eyes watching every letter stamp the page with undying concentration.”
Now let us put in one or two fillers:
“The gentleman literally furiously tapped on the keys, his glassed eyes literally watching every literal letter stamp the page with undying concentration.”
That sentence is now litera-… *ahem*… horridly ruined just with the adding of three words.
I hope you heed my words, friends. For these words can really and truly rip your sentences into smouldering smithereens.
Thank you to Aldrin for writing this blog