Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Apt Phrases

I'm not a particularly metaphorical writer. I don't use much figurative language. But I do have some phrases that I fall back on without even thinking--"It's funny," "it seemed," and "it was as if"--that provide me a natural opening for a narrator or speaker to make some kind of connection or analogy.

But have I overused these phrases? Worried, I used the awesome "ctrl+f" function in Microsoft Word. I discovered that I used "It's funny" three times and "it seemed" twelve times. I also used "It was as if" twice. Ironically, with all of these phrases, I break a rule I taught: avoid using indefinite pronouns to begin a sentence, especially when there's no clear antecedent. That is, don't use "it" unless you and the reader know what "it" is replacing.

This search function is great in that it allows me to notice when I'm being repetitive. We all have phrases that we overuse, both in speech and in writing. When we're aware of those phrases, we can hopefully replace them with something more creative. ("Hopefully" is another one I overuse!)

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