I guess we all have our writing ticks, things we do and don’t do and things we love or hate. Sometimes I’ll read a story or book or essay in which the writer uses some word that stands out—a very descriptive or big word—and they’ll use it two or three times, and that makes me cringe because it distracts from the rest of the piece. I start thinking, “S(he) really likes that word” and forget about what I’m reading. Some things I do/don’t do/love/hate when I write/read:
1. I love m-dashes and use them all the time.
2. I probably use more semicolons than the average person, too.
3. I sometimes repeat things, although I’m trying to stop doing this, like “I ran, I ran really fast” or “I was scared, so scared that I wet my pants.” Well, hopefully better than that, but you get the idea.
And things that drive me nuts:
1. I can’t stand it when people misspell “definitely.” There is no “a” in definitely!
2. There are a lot of other word mis-usages that drive me nuts, like:
a. “a myriad of” (it’s just myriad, and it literally means 10,000)
b. to “beg the question” (doesn’t mean to ask the question)
c. enormity (doesn’t mean big)
d. singsong (monotonous, not song-like)
And the list goes on. I guess these are editor/reporter annoyances because if you’re a daily reporter, you get reminded every day, and if you’re an editor you’re reminding someone every day. Anyway, I’m fascinated by people’s writing ticks.
What are yours? (good or bad)