What’s So ‘Interesting’ About That?
Once a week I receive Grammarly reports that provide stats on my writing and how I compare to other Grammarly users. I love this and recently sent a product request to the digital writing assistance tool for a feature that I think would be most useful; a summary of which adjectives and expressions I use most often.
If Grammarly grants my wish, I imagine my report would share that I used the word ‘interesting’ 965+ times over the last 12 months. Now, granted I do provide feedback to work colleagues as well as grade student papers using the platform’s Chrome extension, but I know in my heart that I personally use the adjective ‘interesting’ far too often.
Here are 3 adjectives and expressions I want to reduce from my vocabulary and what I’m going to say instead.
1. Overused Word: ‘Interesting‘
Where I use it: In spoken conversation.
Issue: The most overused word I currently use. It doesn’t mean enough because we use it for everything. The word of course used to mean ‘to draw interest to something’. However, more often than not we are using it to describe something in a slightly negative (or positive) way in which we say “hey, Trump did something.” If you’re not sure how the audience is going to respond, you can safely say it’s ‘interesting’ because you don’t want to sound too swayed in one direction or the other. It’s a cowardly way to go about it and I know I have been guilty of using it this way. It would be better if I would just declare that I believe someone’s actions to be silly, rather than ‘interesting’, and be bold enough to share my personal reaction.
What to use instead: At the beginning of this month I looked online for synonyms for ‘interesting’ and found several useful ones based on the sentiment I wished to express. For positive emotions, the most useful synonyms are ‘fantastic’, ‘exciting’, and ‘thought-provoking’. When my impulse to use the word ‘interesting’ is instead to share something negative, I plan to replace the word ‘interesting’ and instead use the words ‘not natural’, ‘controversial’, and ‘a handful’ (as in ‘that guy is a handful’) based on the situation.
2. Overused Word: ‘Sounds Good’
Where I use it: In text messages and phone calls.
Issue: I say this all day, mostly via text and phone. I sometimes look at my text outbox and wonder which sound I imagined I heard from their last comment. Alas, it was silent.
What to use instead: I have replaced ‘sounds good’ successfully already and reviewing my text messages find my last usage on January 15th, almost 30 days ago. What I have used instead includes, ‘looking forward to it’, ‘that’s a plan’, ‘sure thing’, and ‘of course’. There are so many ways to express this emotion, I don’t know why I ever limited myself.
3. Overused Word: ‘And all of that’ (‘Y todo eso’).
Where I use it: In Spanish spoken conversation.
Issue: The problem here is that I again am not really saying anything. I am stating that there exist more details, but I’m not going to talk about them. Not much value-added in this expression. Funny, this expression is only notably a problem for me in Spanish which could also be indicating I need to expand my vocabulary in the language.
What to use instead: I started looking at other options but realized the best replacement is no words in this case. The words don’t add content as there is nothing additional to say, so I will just leave it at that.
I’m excited to improve my word selection in 2021. I hope you may find this article more than ‘interesting’ and perhaps thought-provoking for your own word choice ?.