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Sloppy Writing 101.26

August 17, 2012 by Suzi

Another word to watch out for is decide. Using decide distances the reader from the characters and should be avoided.

I don’t use a ton of decides, but after a search of The Proper Way to Say Goodbye, I found several I could delete to tighten my sentences. The interesting thing was that I didn’t overuse it with my main character. Meaning Chloe didn’t say, I decided to… a lot. More often, I used it in other people’s dialogue, and usually it was unnecessary.

Here are a few examples.

He should’ve been a freshman in college, but he decided to take a year off from school.
Revised: He should’ve been a freshman in college but took a year off from school.

Eventually we decided to meet and became friends.
Revised: Eventually we met and became friends.

I’m so glad you decided to join us.
Revised: I’m so glad you joined us.

I decided to play dumb.
Revised: I played dumb.

So watch out for unnecessary and/or overuse of decide.


  1. Chloe Banks says:

    That’s another one like ‘reach’ – just adds another element to a simple action. I do the same with ‘seemed’. Instead of saying that someone felt something or loooked a certain way, I’ll say that it ‘seemed’ as if they did.

  2. Dana says:

    I’d never even considered that decide would be a word to watch out for, but you’re right. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Janeal says:

    That’s a good one. I just went through and found several in there that weren’t needed. Thanks!

  4. That is an unnecessary word. I don’t think I overuse it, but I could be wrong. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

  5. Jackie says:

    Great post! I’m going to search my MS for this!

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