10 Crutch Words To Avoid Using When Speaking or Writing

10 Crutch Words To Avoid Using When Speaking or Writing
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Often times, when we are writing or speaking, we will come to a point when we may be stuck. In order to give ourselves more time to think of the right word to use or a better word, we use a crutch word.

The words are also used as a way to try to bring more attention to our statement or emphasize the sentence. These 10 crutch words to avoid using when either speaking or writing the English language are the most commonly used incorrectly.

Not taking the time to notice them and avoid using them can become habit forming. Before you know it, you may begin to use the words so much, that they become verbal tics at an unconscious level.


Basically –

Too many people – especially when speaking – use the word basically too often. And incorrectly, for that matter. Basically can be either used to summarize the most important aspects of a statement. It can also be used to emphasize confidence, honesty and simplicity. The problem for many people who use basically too often is that they use it as a way to make their statement stronger. Or to accentuate finality or assurance in their statement. In most cases, things are far from being simple in order to require using basically.


Example: So basically I told him to decide which one of us he would take to the prom.


You should also take a look at The Correct Way On Using Bi, By, Buy And Bye


Like –

The word Like is often used incorrectly by people when speaking and when they are writing. When the time comes for people to wrongly use the word Like, it even becomes repetitive. This is especially a problem with many young teens today. They continually try to use the word, to signal that what they are referring to, was ‘like’ that thing. But when something is ‘like’ what you are trying to describe, it is NOT that. Find other words to emphasize your idea better.


Example: I was like really angry at first. But then, I calmed down.



Actually –

A large majority of students, speakers or writers rely on the word actually to try and actually state what they mean. The word is supposed to be used in order to point to something that is truly there. However, the vast majority used it to make their statement stronger, or to add more punch to their sentence. Some even use the word at the very beginning of their sentence, which is actually incorrect.


Example: The teacher was saying something but I actually had no idea what it was.



Really –

The word Really is probably one of the most misused words in the English dictionary. Since we want to tell our audience that what we are referring to is ‘really’ great, we use it to emphasize that. But is it really necessary to use really that often? In reality, it is not and you should avoid using it unnecessarily.


Example: They were having a really great time.



very –

When it came to the word Very, Mark Twain said best in this statement. “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” Too many writers use the word very as a crutch word to embolden their statement. So if someone was very interested in finding out the truth, there is no need to use ‘very to magnify that. Before you know it, you will be using the word very often to try and make your sentence very strong.


Example: He was very worried that she would say something wrong.



Literally –

Believe it or not, the word Literally is one of the most misplaced modifiers used by people. Literally is meant to signify something that occurs in the strictest sense of the word. However, most end up using it figuratively to accentuate something that is meant to be exaggerated. Just remember that the word literally means ‘actually, but without exaggeration.’


Example: I literally ate 7 hot dogs the other day.



Stuff/Things –

If you want your sentence or speech to demonstrate a lot of stuff or things, then you have to find better words. A significant amount of writers and speakers use things and stuff incorrectly, too frequently. When we use either of these words, we leave our readers wondering what the things or stuff actually are.


Example: There are so many things and stuff I want to do this weekend.



Honestly –

Once again, here is another word used too often by people to highlight their statement or sentences. The problem is that when you tell someone “I am honestly trying to make this better,” you end up leaving an opening. If you use honestly to say to the reader that the particular statement was true, then what does that say about the rest of your writing?


Example: Honestly, why he said those things are beyond me.



A lot –

The word A lot can become a crutch word for many people and they don’t even realize that they may be using it a lot. When you want to let someone know that a lot of what you are saying is good, then avoid being so vague. A lot can mean any kind of an amount if it doesn’t have context attached. While ‘a lot’ may seem like a significant high number to one person, it can mean very little to another.


Example: A lot of the people at the party left early.


Don’t miss reading about these Commonly Misused Words – Learn to Use Them Correctly


Obviously –

Just like the words ‘Actually’ and ‘Literally,’ the word obviously, is often misused by too many out there. It is supposed to refer to something or someone that is understood, easily seen or recognized. Instead, people use it to wrongly accentuate things that are not in truth, obvious.


Example: He obviously forgot how to say what he means.