C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

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Question: What words bug you (that shouldn’t)?

Specifically, are there words or phrases you might encounter in an Amazon book description that turn you off the book immediately? Are these annoying words or phrases arbitrary?

This is an original work, based on internation...

This is an original work, based on international road sign design. It symbolizes the question "Where do we go from here" and is also a play on the words "Right of Way". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, it’s the word cuppa. “Would you like to come in for a cuppa, Miss Beasley?”

Oh, god. Spare me. Hate it. I can’t tell you why because I don’t know. Maybe I associate it with a low-class colloquialism that sounds like a warning of cliched, filler dialogue ahead, but I’m just guessing.

On the other end of the spectrum there’s something about writing the word weight with a calligraphic pen that is so enjoyable, I have written it down a page while doodling, over and over. Is this a weird, unexplored cul-de-sac of OCD? What are the words that make you want to grind your teeth? Or does this just happen to me?

Filed under: rules of writing, What about you?, writing tips, , , , ,

6 Responses

  1. Jae Blakney says:

    That’s funny, about ‘cuppa’. I see what you mean, but I actually have a friend who uses that word, and from him it flows naturally. On the other hand, none of my characters ever have, and the only time I use it myself is when I’m being silly with my daughter.
    What bugs me is not words so much as exclamation points. It’s hard to take a book seriously when the pitch reads like a pro-wrestling script.

    • Chazz says:

      Ha! Reminds me of an old newspaper saw: A copy editor goes over a story with a reporter and says, “Are you sure you want to use an exclamation point here? You’re only allowed one for your entire journalistic career, so is this the story on which you want to spend that exclamation point?”

  2. gillyfraser says:

    In the north-east of Scotland – my home territory – we have a habit of putting ‘ie’ at the end of words – so you wouldn’t be offered a cuppa in Aberdeen – it would be a cuppie, and to me that sounds much friendlier!
    As to exclamation marks – I let myself scatter them all over the place when I’m writing, but then go back and remove all (or almost all) of them. That seems to satisfy some inner need to use the damn things in the first place, but also keeps my inner editor happy as well! (Okay – that one slipped through…)

  3. Chazz says:

    Someone on Twitter answered “nonplussed”. Yes. Don’t like that word, either.

  4. I’m sick of the word “epic”. Boy, am I sick of it.

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