Tag Archives: writing style

Don’t You Hate it When…

You can’t seem to stop using the same word or phrase repeatedly in your writing? I understand the impossibility of trying to write a statement of purpose without using the words research, experience, background, goal, interest, etc. But it drives me insane nonetheless to use these words over & over. Anyway, it made me think about how funny I find it when I’m reading someone else’s writing & I’m impressed with their deft word choice. Then I read more of their writing & notice that they recycle the same words until they’re hackneyed, stale, & sort of annoying. Paradigm this, amenable that.¬†At the same time I suppose it can be endearing in a way — a sort of stylistic quirk.

I even notice it with certain authors. There’s a chapter in Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth in which he uses the word invaginate far too many times. I appreciate its technicality &, considering the topic, appropriateness. But at the same time, fold could have sufficed at least once, right? I wonder what my “token” words are & if they’ve come out through the writing in my blog. I think everyone has their “token” words. I’ll have to reflect on it for a few days. Okay, I’ll admit I overuse some words & phrases & I know it, but I guess I’m talking about polished writing.

I’ll leave you with this amusing video — even musicians do it in their songwriting.

Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream, dream…

P.S. I came up with this idea while I was working & wrote myself a note at my desk that read: “don’t you hate it when… dream dream dream dream.” Hope no one saw that.

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Filed under Linguistics