Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Sloppy Writing 101.38

 
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.

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7 Responses to “Sloppy Writing 101.38”

  1. Emily R. King Says:

    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. Kimberly Gabriel Says:

    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. Mark Koopmans Says:

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

  6. Camille Kellogg Says:

    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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