Sloppy Writing 101.51

Last week I talked about how I was overusing the word MADE when I could be using so much better words. So I’ll do another along that line. GET.
So sometimes I could just delete the GET because it was unnecessary. I tightened my sentence. No, it’s really not a lot of words, but it’s cleaner.
-I slipped over to the water fountain to get a drink as a girl clutching The Time Traveler’s Wife cruised by.
I slipped over to the water fountain for a drink as a girl clutching The Time Traveler’s Wife cruised by.
-I’d rather be teaching upper level classes, but that’s not what TAs get to teach.
I’d rather be teaching upper level classes, but that’s not what TAs teach.
– I need to get to my grading finished.
I need to finish my grading.
Other times I could use a better, more descriptive word. No, they’re not really fancy replacements, but I’d rather use those words than the plain GET.
-Then they’d get quiet.
How about grow instead of get?
-After our next two books, perhaps we can get a Stephen King in.
Why not read? Because that’s what she means.
I suppose GET would be a word you could use to differentiate characters, but I didn’t see that as important here, so I cleaned up as many of them as I could. And I got rid of/replaced about 50 GETs. So not bad.

Do you overuse GET?

6 Responses

  1. Some Brits have a thing about ‘get’. Not generally like in your examples, but because in some contexts it’s a very American word to use and some people are quite sensitive about how British English is now full of Americanisms (mostly because we have so many of your TV shows over here – Friends changed the face of British youth forever!) In some cases I agree – I always try to use “may I have…” in coffee shops instead of the American “can I get…” – but I also find it a bit funny. English is made up of so many languages already! But you know what they say about Britons and Americans – two nations divided by a common language!

  2. Rachel Schieffelbein

    These are so interesting, Suzi. This may sound stupid, but how do you come up with this? It would never have even occurred to me to search for ‘get’ or ‘made.’

  3. I haven’t a clue if I’m over using get or if I could be using something better. I have to give my book a lookies to see. I’m sure I’ll find at least a few that could be better. Seems like there’s always ways it could be better no matter how many times I go over it.

  4. Yep I’m guilty of it too. I’ve just gone back thru an old ms and cringed at my use of these words. Tweak tweak tweak! It’s fun to see how far we’ve come in our writing with old mss. 😀

  5. I’m very aware of using “that” too often. Most times it can be eliminated entirely. As in: “She knew that she should . . .” You don’t need “that,” you can simply say, “She knew she should . . .”

    Also “just” (as in “only”). I have to watch myself with that one. (See there? THAT time, the “that” was necessary to my thought.)

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