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A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A to Z: J is for Just

Just I decided today I was going to write about just.
I just decided today I was going to write about just.
I decided just today I was going to write about just.
I decided today I was just going to write about just... and on and on and on...

Just has it's place, but for the most part, it's a problematic sort of word. Not only does it vex syntax, it is much too much overused. And very often when it is used, it could be eliminated without the story suffering for its absence.

I Googled "overused words in writing" and in the search results, from the first page only (I know, I could have written 'from just the first page' ) I found these blogs disparaging its use:

Five Weak Words that Make Your Writing Less Effective

Do You Overuse This Word in Your Writing?

 Top 15 Overused Words in a Manuscript

Just isn't the only culprit. There are many, but 'just' (just) happens to be the word I'm in recovery from. I had no idea how often I used it until I read a blogpost written by agents. In the post, they listed the things that were an immediate turn off a.k.a. manuscript to the waste paper basket, and one of the agents listed overuse of the word "just".

I went to the open manuscript on my desktop (a word doc.) and did a search for all of the incidences of the word "just". Lo and behold, I'd found a word that needed to be deleted from my ms. nine times out of ten.

And it likes to mess with my syntax. :-)

So, I just need to stop using it.
So, I need to just stop using it.
So, I need to stop just using it.
So, I need to stop using just it.


Visit other April Blogging from A to Z Challenge by clicking here. 

Have you identified a word you use way too often?


  1. justified...

    Thank you for being part of the "AtoZ Challenge", please stop on over to my site[s] and say "Hello"!

    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2014]

    Old is the New Cool...

    1. Thanks for for co-hosting, Jeremy, and for dropping by. :-)

  2. Yeah, it's just one of those crutch words that just happens to get weeded out in the editing process. :)

    1. Hahaha! I know just what you mean. ;-) Thanks for dropping by, David. :-)

  3. "Just" is definitely one of those overused words for me, especially in first drafts. I like to think I catch them all in the editing process but…. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

    1. Yep, I like to think that too. :-) What would we do without softwear that finds words for us?

      Thanks for visiting. Madeline!

  4. I'm not even gonna defend myself because I'll just look stupid :)

    1. Hahaha! I know just what you mean! ;-) Thanks for visiting, Jen! :-)

  5. the reason I loved this post is cause last year I had J for just. I constantly have to search for the word and delete. It's too easy to slip in every where. Just don't use Just!

    1. Oh, it does slip in. And I had no idea until I read that blog post. I have other similar quirky words that seem to fill my pages. Editing is such a bear. :-)

  6. One of the notoriously overused words is "that," though I've seen some writers go overboard and take out every single non-noun usage. Sometimes the word "that" really is necessary, and without it, a sentence looks really awkward and grammatically incorrect.

    1. Yes, yes, yes. That is a problematic word. And you're right. Remove it and in some cases, the syntax is blown. The sentence becomes confusing or senseless. Thanks for visiting, Carrie-Anne :-)

  7. I did a blog post a while back about words to cut out of your manuscript and "just" was one of them. I really enjoyed reading your post. The beginning and ending was brilliant. ;)

  8. I chose to use one of the problematic uses of "just" in our world by writing about a time a friend and I agreed to tell "just the truth" but to pick and choose how much of the truth we were going to tell. We just told the truth and then everyone else put the pieces together.

  9. "Just" is an easy word for me to avoid, because it's a word that sticks out to me. "That," however, is the bane of my existence.