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Generic Words

generic descriptions

The “generic descriptions” category identifies cases where you are using words like very, nice, great.  Descriptions that contain these words are not very powerful.  As a writer, you can do better.

For example:


It was very sunny when she stepped outside


The sun blinded her when she stepped outside.


A nice bouquet sat on the coffee table


A profuse bouquet of aging yellow roses loomed over the coffee table, dropping petals on the papers she needed to sign.


The drums were very loud. She ought to complain.


The moment the door swung open, the deafening beat of drums assaulted her eardrums. If she weren’t intimidated by her neighbour’s face tattoos, she would complain.

As you can see, the sentences with ‘nice’, ‘very’, etc, are not very powerful.  The moment you get rid of them, your writing becomes more interesting.  For example, the aging yellow roses and the dropping petals provide a more vivid atmosphere than just saying a bouquet was on the table.  I wouldn’t have thought about dropping petals unless I was forced to look at the ‘nice’ and see how I could do it better.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to get rid of every occurrence of these words.  But do take a moment to evaluate each instance and see if there is an opportunity to make your words more powerful.

Write better. Right now.