Sunday, June 28, 2020

What Good Are Crutch Words?

I found a great article called So, Um, You Really Need to Stop Using Crutch Words by Niti Shah about crutch words (a.k.a. filler words) and how they confuse what a speaker is saying by diluting the message, as well as making the person sound nervous and unsure. She says, "I'm identifying words that we often use but have no business being said out loud."

For speakers, sure, but this isn't necessarily true for fiction writers!


"I mean...I just...like you."
Artist Trading Coin by Stacia Leigh

So, what good are crutch words?

They may be considered unnecessary fluff to some, but they have their place. They're really good for implying a voice or a tone when writing unique characters. Each person in the story needs to sound like an individual and if all the characters have similar quirks or start their sentences with, "Actually," then the lines get blurred pretty quickly regarding who's who. Why do the teens sound like the adults? Why does the villain speak in the same manner as the hero? Is the alien talking or the captain of the ship?

Confusion will inevitably set in and that confusion lifts the curtain between the mist of the imaginary world and the concrete reality of text on the page. Authors need to keep the reader immersed in the story for it to be a satisfying read, and one small part of this process is to have characters that are easily identifiable by voice.

I've included a list of crutch words below for easy access. Mix and match and have fun. Do you have a favorite or a new word to add? Let me know!


STARTING A SENTENCE
* And (so)
* So
* Anyway(s)
* At the end of the day
* Okay
* Well
* Hey
* Like I said
* Like I was saying
* As I was saying
* Well...yeah
* Listen
* Tell me something
* You see
* I mean
* In fact
* To be honest with you
* Somehow
* In a weird way
* Regardless
* Nevertheless
* For what it's worth
* Now
* By the way
* No way
* All things being equal
* As a matter of fact
* As far as I'm concerned
* At this point (in time)
* Here's the thing
* I feel (that or like)
* I think (that)
* I believe (that)
* I might add
* In my (humble) opinion
* It seems like
* The most important thing is to
* The reason
* Time and time again


SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE
* Just
* Almost
* Mostly
* Only
* Basically
* Actually
* Definitely
* Literally
* Really
* Very
* Truly
* Essentially
* Absolutely
* Seriously
* Totally
* Honestly
* Obviously
* Like
* Clearly
* Technically
* Great
* Fantastic
* Awesome
* Sick
* Excellent
* Wow
* Whoa
* Brilliant
* Definite
* Typical
* Uh
* Er
* Um
* Hmm
* Ah
* Uh huh
* And one more thing
* Maybe
* Sure (thing)
* Certainly
* A lot
* In any shape or form
* Slightly
* Simply
* Exactly
* Perhaps


ENDING A SENTENCE
* Right
* You know
* (You) Know what I mean
* (You) Know what I'm saying
* You get the idea
* And so on and so forth
* I guess (so)
* I suppose (so)
* Or something (like that)
* Stuff like that
* Or whatever
* You get me
* You feel me
* Believe (you) me
* Believe it
* Got it
* Considering
* Here
* There


OTHER RESOURCES
* 298 Filler Words & Phrases That Rob Your Writing of Its Power by SmartBlogger
* Fill in the Gaps by FluentU
10 Crutch Words to Avoid Using When Speaking or Writing by Online-Spellcheck.com
* Don't Get Crippled by Crutch Words by TCK Publishing.com
* 30 Filler Words You Can Cut Out of Your Writing by GrammarCheck
* 25 Filler Words That Won't Get You Hired by BrandYourself

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"Don't be the crutch for someone who can walk." ~ LaShawn Henderson

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