6 Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence – #RRBC

Here at 4WillsPublishing, we’re all about sharing info that can only help you to become a better writer.  What better info to share than 6 words that can ruin your sentence.  So, let’s jump right into it:

*ACTUALLY:  Crutch words are words that we slip into sentences in order to give ourselves more time to think, or to emphasize a statement. Over time, they become unconscious verbal tics. Most often, crutch words do not add meaning of a statement. Actually is the perfect example of a crutch word. It is meant to signify something that exists in reality, but it is more often used as a way to add punch to a statement (as in, “I actually have no idea”). The next word is one of the most chronically misused crutch words in English…

*LITERALLY:  This adverb should be used to describe an action that occurs in a strict sense. Often, however, it is used inversely to emphasize a hyperbolic or figurative statement: “I literally ran 300 miles today.” Literally is one of the most famously used crutch words in English. The next one, however, may surprise you…

*BASICALLY:  This word is used to signal truth, simplicity, and confidence, like in “Basically, he made a bad decision.” It should signify something that is fundamental or elementary, but too often this word is used in the context of things that are far from basic, in order to create a sense of authority and finality. What’s our next adverb offender?

*HONESTLY:  This crutch word is used to assert authority or express incredulity, as in, “Honestly, I have no idea why he said that.” However, it very rarely adds honesty to a statement. The next crutch word is perhaps the most famous one out there…

*LIKE:  The cardinal sinner of lazy words, like is interspersed in dialogue to give a speaker more time to think or because the speaker cannot shake the habit of using the word. Like should describe something of the same form, appearance, kind, character, or amount. But, very often, it is used involuntarily in conversation, just like um. Our next and final word is not so obvious…

*OBVIOUSLY:  This word should signify an action which is readily observable, recognized, or understood. Speakers tend to use it, however, to emphasize their point with regards to things that aren’t necessarily obvious: “Obviously he should have thrown the ball to first base.” What crutch words do you rely on?

Friends, I obviously might be an offender, but, basically, when I use these words, I’m clearly trying to express a point.  Honestly, I had no idea I was using the words incorrectly and literally cringed when I read this article.  I was likereally?

Seriously, though…we want you to share your crutch words with us…I’ve definitely added my own (underlined)!

(This info taken from Dictionary.com)

40 thoughts on “6 Words That Can Ruin Your Sentence – #RRBC

  1. This made me laugh. I am guilty of using “definitely” and “actually” often. Now, when I’m editing, I use the FIND tool to look for those words and eliminate those that are not needed (which is most of them).


  2. Excellent. Writers should take heed—clearly.


    On Sun, Jul 2, 2017 at 2:51 PM, 4WillsPublishing Author Services wrote:

    > reviewsbynonnie posted: “Here at 4WillsPublishing, we’re all about sharing > info that can only help you to become a better writer. What better info to > share than 6 words that can ruin your sentence. So, let’s jump right into > it: *ACTUALLY: Crutch words are words that we slip i” >


  3. Another article well worth reading. My eyes are not as attuned to the words described as my ears are. I cringe when I hear “like” over and over in a few sentences.


  4. Well call me crazy, but I like some of those words. Its just that they are overused at times and that’s where the rub is. Just my opinion.


  5. I would add to your list of words that will ruin your sentence (and my appetite as well) — “really”, “nice” and “sweet”. When I taught English and composition I took off points for any use of these three putrid, overworked and useless words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Mr. Sawyer, I’m so glad I wasn’t in your English class…I mean, what if you’re referring to “the sweet old lady” OR “sweet tea” OR “such a nice girl” OR “he drove a nice car…” What about those? LOL

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, pa-lease, Review. Do you mean that with more than 100,000 English adjectives you can’t find a more pleasing or more appropriate or more descriptive way to describe a lady than “sweet”? BTW, you must not be from the South or you’d know that “sweet tea” is one word. We don’t describe tea as “sweet”. That would mean we’d have to say, “sweet” sweet tea–we would never do that. Those ridiculous, lazy adjectives do nothing to embellish or qualify those nouns. If you’d have been in my English class I’d take 5 points off your score for your each instance of “sweet” and “nice”. :>)


        1. Hello, again, Mr. Sawyer! First, for clarification…born, raised and still living in the deep South. I don’t know of any place or product where “sweet” tea is one word. My daughter drinks it like it’s water so I’m a frequent purchaser of the stuff (Gold Peak “Sweet” Tea…one of her many brands).

          5 points off each time I used “sweet” or “nice” …? I would have flunked your class, for sure, because I like those words! LOL

          On another note, I tend to not conform to those textbooks that house those rigid rules of writing, handed down from souls who deemed these rules as the “correct” and only way to write…based on how “they” felt the written word should look on paper. I write the way I feel is best for me, and, I tend to do pretty well in that department.

          So, how about we agree to disagree that those “lazy adjectives,” as you so “sweetly” put it, do nothing at all to enhance one’s writing. I beg to differ, but, that’s just my little opinion, and we’re all entitled to those.

          Thanks for dropping by, enhancing our fun post!


          1. Obviously we disagree, which, actually is okay with me. And we can agree to disagree. And I’ll stop now trying to include all those 7 words in this reply. I’m glad you’re from the deep South as well. Actually I’m a 45 year Shenandoah, Iowa transplant from Selma to Montgomery to Atlanta; so I’m actually not a native (oops, there I go again). But I regard sweet tea (without the hyphen as one word–and I have the recipe. It is one word because it is a real compound and not a compound word:
            More on language with you later, Reviews. BTW, unless you’re 29 or younger, please don’t call me Mr. Sawyer (my students call me that). Call me Steve. Really.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Steve, thanks for sharing YOUR recipe on sweet tea. But, you know, I’m OK with your referring to it in whatever manner makes you feel comfy….sweettea, sweet-tea, sweet tea…what does it all really matter in the grand scheme of life? It matters not at all.

              Thanks, Steve. Believe me when I say you have made this post most enjoyable and entertaining. Please come back anytime! (any time) LOL! I mean that. Really 😉


          2. Well, thank you. I’m so glad you’re from the deep South, as you say, unless you live in Florida. Florida is not a deep South state. Florida simply serves as a cultural buffer between Alabama and Cuba. If it weren’t for Florida, Cuba might one day get a notion to apply for statehood, such as Hawaii and Alaska did. We could not allow that to happen. That’s why Florida is so important and why so many old people live down there.


            1. Hello, Steve…now when I invited you back, it wasn’t to resurrect our now ancient discussion! Now we’re going to debate the ‘South-deepness’ of Florida? Oh, no, not today we’re not.

              Thanks for dropping by again, Steve! LOL


  6. Like really, Nonnie. “I’m just saying” all these words are basically fundamental to the English language! “You know what I mean?” Can we ‘even’ remember the days when ‘like’ wasn’t an integral part of the language?

    This was great. Loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim, I think somewhere (Cali, maybe) the whole ‘Valley girl’ craze took over the land, and we all started with the “llys”…”totally” was one of the most popular ones. I also believe that’s where the popular over-use of “Like” came into play, as well.

      But, hey…if we’re not hurting the elderly, babies and animals, what’s the big deal anyway? Go on, use your crutch words, just don’t enroll in Mr. Sawyer’s class because he deducts heavily for these misdemeanors. 🙂 (Just kidding, Mr. Sawyer…LOL)

      Liked by 3 people

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