Stephanie and Jill’s Weasel Words and Phrases
These are words we overuse or that sneak into our first drafts despite our best efforts to keep
Quirked (my characters are always quirking eyebrows)
So-and-so rolled her eyes/ran her hands through her hair
“Or something” (I like to throw that in to the end of a lot of my sentences for some reason.
“We should go to the movies or something.”)
Past/Passed—I have issues remembering which is correct.
It—Especially at the start of sentences. Often “it” should be replaced with something more
Many, few, lots, a lot of, a little, some, most, almost, more, a few, rather, might, perhaps,
much, often, for the most part, like, seem, etc.
Every, very, entire, everyone, everything, etc.
Verbs that facilitate telling
Feel/felt, see/saw, hear/heard, think/thought, look, watch, taste, smell, wonder, decide,
notice, remember, recall, consider, ponder, is, am, are, was, were, has, had, have, etc.
Infinite Verb Phrases (Starting sentences with —ing words)
Continuous action words
As, when, while, after, continued to.
Overuse of “they” or “them” tends to create the feel of an omniscient POV.
Just, then, as, the next day, all at once, soon, etc.
Softly, angrily, sadly, really, basically, immediately, very, actually, surely, usually, truly,
Started to, began to.
Some other words on my list:
Thought/though/through, loose/lose, there, it, be, being, been, became, that, well, poor,
anyway, quite, however, about.
And here's the printable: