12 Bad Writing Habits Everyone’s Guilty Of (Even Us)

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Just like all bad habits, it's easy to develop bad writing habits that are difficult to get rid of. No matter how hard it may seem, breaking free of these habits is a must, or your career could suffer badly. If you want to become a successful writer, it's time to correct these mistakes and hone your ability.

Writing is an art, and you don't need to be well educated or grammatically perfect to produce good content. Whatever you write should be appealing to everyday people, so they will want to read your content to the end. But even the best writers harbor bad habits that make them feel guilty. So, how can you rise above them, and let your talent shine through?

Firstly, you need to identify what the bad habits are, and then take care not to repeat them in your writing. 

Overuse of the Word ‘Ultimately’ to End an Article

If you write regularly, there is a good chance certain words will find their way into your vocabulary and stay there. You start using these words over and over again without knowing it. They are referred to as crutch words, and can weaken your writing. One example of a crutch word most of us use to wrap up an article is "ultimately". When you use these words repeatedly, they lose their value and become nothing more than filler. So, try to cut down on this habit.

Using ‘in-depth’ to the Extent It Loses its Meaning

Another annoying crutch word that creeps into content is ‘in-depth’. A lengthy article, an investigation report, a standard-length interview, a market study, a checklist - all are obviously in-depth. There is no need to state it. Overusing this word renders it meaningless.

Using ‘in fact’ to Refer to Non-facts

Most people these days are influenced by beliefs and emotions rather than true facts. When writing content, it becomes necessary to present indisputable data and information. That's when most writers use “in fact,” even when referring to things that are not facts. Using words incorrectly can destroy your sentence. Use words correctly, or make sure to eliminate them from your writing vocabulary.

Converting Nouns into Verbs and Vice Versa

In the continuous search for finding complex ways to express simple and straightforward ideas, we are transforming nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns. This phenomenon is spreading like a plague in both the IT industry, and in the corporate world - and some of these words are used so frequently they now appear as normal vocabulary; friending, texting, tweeting to mention a few. To be frank, using these conversions just makes your content seem more like an official memorandum.

Using ‘Luckily’ Even if there is No Luck Involved

‘Luckily’ is another common word people use often, without grasping its true meaning. It is often overused as a transitional phrase to explain situations that don't involve any luck at all. Most of the time, the thoughts or statements that follow the initial word has nothing to do with luck. It's high time such laziness in writing is eliminated.

Overuse of ‘in other words’

Content writing is not an easy task. You should succeed in getting your point across to the audience. You will often have to express a difficult or complex thought in a simple and understandable way. “In other words” is a phrase used quite often to achieve this, but it is rather unnecessary. For example, when it is overused in a paragraph to express the same thoughts, or when it is used to explain a thought that is already clear to the reader. So, next time you write, just state things clearly without over-explaining, or using “in other words.”

Misusing Identifier-Name Commas

When it comes to writing, the identifier-name problem is a common syntactical error that writers make frequently. Suppose you are talking about a book title or movie. It is right to use a comma before the name or title if that is the only thing in the world. There is no need for commas if there is more than one of the item you are describing. Although it is not necessary to follow all the rules of grammar when writing for the everyday people, these types of grammatical errors shouldn't be ignored.

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Using ‘etc.’ When You Don't Have Anything to Say

Using “etc” at the end of a list of things is just laziness, and it indicates that you have run out of things to say. It is annoying when you add it at the end of lists, and your audience is expecting more detail or more explanations of the things listed. Don’t be lazy! Make the effort to create a detailed list that will make the point clear to your readers. Don't use “etc” at the end of a list if you don’t have any more things to add.

Overuse of em Dashes

The em dash that can take the place of colons, commas or brackets is probably the most versatile punctuation mark as far as a writer is concerned. It is one of the most overused punctuation marks as well. The problem with using it in too many places is that it affects the true efficiency of writing. Not only does it disrupt the flow of a sentence, many readers find it annoying. Make your point with clarity, and reduce the use of the em dash.

Using ‘for example’ to start a Sentence

It's okay to use transitional phrases like “for example” when you are writing an essay or academic paper, but when writing content for websites, avoid using it to start a sentence. Using it multiple times in an article tends to reduce the charm or elegance of the sentences. Always keep in mind not to use transitional phrases to begin sentences.

The Use of More Than One Exclamation Point

It is better to avoid the use of multiple exclamation points in a sentence. The more you add, the weaker and less credible your points become. Exclamation marks are used to express emotion, and using too many of them in succession suggests you are really worked up. Use punctuation marks sparingly, because a good writer can always express the tone of a message through their words alone.

Using Too Many Buzzwords

Buzzwords refer to phrases or words that don't have real meaning. These words may sound cool and interesting, but when used by everyone, they eventually become meaningless and sometimes annoying too. Using them may make you sound smart, but it won't help to impress the common man. A few examples of buzzwords you should probably avoid using include

Dynamic

Paradigm-shifting

Cutting-Edge

Revolutionary

Leverage

Problem Solving

Results-oriented

Conversation marketing

Sticky content

It is perfectly fine to use these words in the right context, but take care not to overuse them.

Content writing is in huge demand. As a good writer, it is your responsibility to provide the reader with the best content. If you have the habit of stuffing your content with unnecessary things, it's time to stop. If you think you are guilty of any of the writing habits mentioned here, it's time to make a change. Work hard to eliminate them, and improve your writing skills.

Can you think of any other bad habits that should make to this list? Please drop your comment below.

Dikirim 19 September, 2017

EdwardSuez
EdwardSuez Kakitangan

Sales & Marketing Guru

Edward is the Sales & Marketing Correspondent for Freelancer.com. He is currently based in Sydney, and is a self-confessed ice-cream fan.

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