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Sloppy Writing 101.38

November 16, 2012 by Suzi

Sometimes in my writing I overuse only. Usually when I’m trying to emphasize and idea or word. Here are my examples from The Proper Way to Say Goodbye, where I deleted the onlys.
-Like I said, he only referred to her as Dent’s daughter
-Sucks cause she’s only nineteen and can’t go to the bars.
-I only went to get a drink.
Another thing I looked at was using only vs. just. Sometimes just sounds better, so Chloe does use it. But otherwise, when either works, I used only for her to distinguish her voice. And just for the others.
-Chloe: Wait, you kissed her. Like after only two dates?
(Previously, it was, “Like after just two dates?”)
-Murphy: They just use Charles when they’re mad.
(Previously, it was, “The only time they use Charles is when they’re mad.”)
So only is a good word to use to differentiate your voices. And make sure you’re not overusing it like I was.


  1. I don’t use too many only’s, but I do like “just.” I just can’t help myself. 😉

  2. Dana says:

    I’ve guilty of overusing both “only” and “just.” *sigh* :)

  3. Cassie Mae says:

    You always bring up words I don’t even think about! LOL. I should have you edit my books :)

  4. I constantly overuse “just” and “that” – I think I could cut out an easy 1K by eliminating those words… and for the record…I deleted my use of “just” 3 times in this post….ridiculous

  5. I only like stopping by here ‘cos you are just a nice person, like.

  6. Interesting. Really good choice and something a lot of people do. Keep up the good work!

  7. Rachel Schieffelbein says:

    I would have used ‘only’ in all those lines you said you cut it from, too! (And, to be honest, in the first one I don’t think I’d cut it.) :)

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