Sloppy Writing 101.03

Sloppy Writing 101.03:That is my problem, not yours.

I want to tell you about something that I’ve been doing much too often. Let’s see if you can figure out what that is. Here are four examples that I pulled from the first page of Frosty.

…because we all know that starting a new school as a senior halfway through the year will be hell.

Did the caseworker think that Brooke and I would become close friends and that my senior year would be the best ever?

I figured that they threw a bunch of names in a hat and sent me to the first one they pulled.

So if you didn’t figure it out, the problem is THAT. I overuse THAT so much it’s embarrassing. There are two issues. The first is using it correctly as in that vs. which vs. who. I won’t go into a description of how to choose what’s right, so go to Grammar Girl if you don’t know.

Luckily, most of the time I got that versus which right. I say most, not all. And really, it was luck. Now I know exactly what the difference is and when to use which instead of that.

My problem was that I have so many completely unnecessary THATs. You can bet that I was slightly stunned when I went through my When the Mist Clears ms in January (after I figured out my problem) and found over eight hundred THATs. Wow—way too many. I have cut it down to three hundred something. Yes, I got rid of 500 THATs in one ms. And I’ll probably go through one more time.

This is definitely one thing that I’ll watch out for when I’m writing because I spent three hours (yes, 3 hours), finding all my unnecessary/wrong THATs.

So watch out for your THATs.

And did you catch all the unnecessary ones in this post? It might be a hard habit to break.

2 Responses

  1. stormchaser

    I don’t say “That” too often. My big problem is the over use of “It’s like”. I caught myself saying it to my friend 4 times this morning.

    1. I probably have phrases like that which I overuse too when speaking. Luckily they don’t all appear in my writing. But my list of words/phrases for Sloppy Writing is growing. Even this week, a beta reader pointed out another phrase I used too often. So that one will go on my list too.

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