Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Sloppy Writing 101.56


 
Another word I looked at in The Proper Way to Say Goodbye is NEED. Sometimes I didn’t need it. Sometimes I could replace it with something less formal.
 
Here are my examples.
 
-Kevin and I decided we need to have a family discussion.
 
Actually they decided TO have the discussion, so I cut the WE NEED. Totally unnecessary.
 
-I need to catch upon my sleep.
 
-You need to read these.
 
With both of these I changed the NEED TO to SHOULD. It’s dialogue and is a little less formal.
 
-Um, what did you need to see me about?
 
I changed the NEED to WANT. Sometimes you need to specifically use NEED versus WANT. But this time either worked. In those cases when it didn’t matter, I used WANT for Chloe and NEED for Sasha.
 
So this isn’t a huge issue, but it’s one more thing to look at if you want to clean things up.

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5 Responses to “Sloppy Writing 101.56”

  1. Dana Says:

    Good one! I think I overuse “need” as well. I’ll add it to my list of things to check. Thanks. :)

    Have a nice weekend.

  2. Madeline Mora-Summonte Says:

    Great examples! Overusing or incorrectly using “need” isn’t something I’d really considered before – but I will now!

  3. M Pepper Langlinais Says:

    There’s a definite difference between choosing “need” and words like “want” or “should” in that “need” conveys a stronger sense of urgency. If you overuse it, it’s like crying wolf–when you really need it, it won’t pack the punch you want it to have.

  4. Kimberly Gabriel Says:

    How about I NEED to get my but in gear and read more of your MS! OR I NEED more quality reading time in my life. Know what I’m currently reading? No: Why Kids NEED To Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It…(Sounds thrilling – I know – it’s for a graduate class). Still….I NEED to be done with it already….I love the way you think Suzi. I guarantee my MS is full of that word.

  5. Lara Schiffbauer Says:

    You are so thorough and always give me a great ways to improve my writing. I love the look of your blog. I’m ashamed of how little I’ve been visiting blogs lately. I need to (should?) get a schedule together.

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