You’re ‘Damn’ Welcome

‘Very’ is one of those words that it’s very easy to overuse in writing, it’s a filler word. We need to actively find ways to avoid repetition of words such as ‘very’ in our writing.

An article, in Life Hacker, mentioned and reminded me of something Mark Twain suggested. Wherever the word ‘very’ is used in your writing, replace it with ‘damn.’ This might freak you out for a second, especially if you don’t want to use the word ‘damn’ in your writing. But, that’s the point. The word ‘damn’ will jump out at you, especially if you repeat it over and over again. You will realize that all those ‘damns’ are not needed and they can be deleted permanently. Putting an out of character filler word in place of a very common filler word helps you realize how many words you are overusing.


There are other filler words that writers use which can also be unnecessary. If you are fortunate enough to realize and find your secret pleasure filler word, then give Mark Twain’s concept a try. Replace you filler word with any other filler word of your choice that you know will stand out (such as ‘damn’). Without doubt the majority of your filler words will be deleted. The flow of your story will be instantly changed and improved by such a simple and easy exercise.

Novel writers may compete with their mind about whether a sentence is a piece of art or whether it should be as concise as possible. Mostly, that is the decision of the writer (or editor). The choice can completely change the  picture you are trying to paint, but will likely not change the message. The choice is yours, but try to avoid extreme repetition at all costs. Write on.