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Sloppy Writing 101.33

October 12, 2012 by Suzi


Since I talked about forward last week, I thought I’d stick with directions and look at up. I did a search of The Proper Way to Say Goodbye for up to see where I could delete it.
-When I stepped back up to her, our elbows brushed together.
(Back to her and up to her mean about the same thing here. Choose one. I chose back.)
-When I first moved up here, an hour away, she called me every single day.
(The town she attends school is north of her hometown. That really isn’t important in this sentence, so I can delete the up.)
-After waking up early the next morning, I hid out in my room
(Up is not needed.)
-I found myself caught up in an argument between two girls in his apartment building.
(Just don’t need the up here.)
-My mom made me help clean the puke up on the floor.
(I moved the up in this one in front of the puke.)
So in my search, I also found a few misplaced prepositions like that last example. And I deleted 85 unnecessary ups, about 35%. Not bad.
So now that I’ve looked up up, next I’ll look up down.



  1. I had a clever editor in an old paper who hated up, down, just and especially “located.”

    He *hated* located :)

    Me, ‘sall good:)

    (But, I never use located anymore… is that bad?)


  2. Ha! I add too many “ups” as well. But my biggest offenders are “of” and “that.” Those two get me every time.

  3. Jolene says:

    I almost always delete the “to me” or “to her” or “at her” because SO often there are only two people, and it doesn’t need to be there.

    Also. Christa did a word search in my last doc I sent to her and found 566 “justs” in ONE BOOK.

    Seriously. Ridiculous….

    Great post.

    What we sometimes forget is that those little things tighten up our language SO well.

  4. Jolene says:


    I love the look of your blog. First off, I’m a sucker for blue and orange, second if just seems cool w/ your blog title.

    Okay. NOW I’m done taking up comment space 😉

  5. This will be all I think about when I write today…how I use this word. Such great tips!

  6. Excellent advice. Up gets me every time. And the word back. When I edit out up and back, it seems like half my novel disappears. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Rachel Schieffelbein says:

    I’ll admit, up is not one I would have thought to look for! I will check it out now, though. :)

  8. Jenny Morris says:

    Kelley found a lot of down and back’s in my latest MS. And I’m sure there are plenty of ups.

  9. Dana says:

    Great advice!

    I love these posts. :)

  10. I’m going to go back through all your sloppy writing posts and make a list. You find the best words to look for. And I really like this template. How long has it been up?

  11. Melodie says:

    Micro-editing is always a good idea. How do we know what we overuse until we look? And it helps us avoid them later.

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