Learn how to replace overused English words in your academic and business writing.
Repetition is not always boring.
It is a useful writing technique if you want to stress something or remind the reader of what has been said.
But if you repeat certain words, again and again, your writing gets unclear. Your text will even sound boring.
Avoid Repetition and Monotony By Using Synonyms in English
Writing well in English means using the right words: the right words for what you mean and including interesting and varied words.
I have written a lot about English vocabulary and presented new words and overused words to you.
Synonyms are words with similar meanings.
Challenge yourself to use a variety of words to describe the situation better.
This technique is useful when you write, speak, give presentations, when you talk on the phone or in video calls, when you give your opinion in meetings, or create emails.
As a result, your writing will be more specific and interesting.
The readers will understand you better.
Replace 10 Overused English Words With These Alternatives
So, where do you start if you want to write better?
What are the most overused words to look out for?
Let’s start by learning to identify and replace ten words that are often repeated in English.
Here are ten English words that are often overused at work.
In addition, I suggest more fitting alternatives for each word that you can use instead.
This little word is very useful. It is an intensifying modifier.
We use it before an adjective or adverb to give it a stronger meaning or to stress it.
For example, a very good presentation is better than a good presentation.
You can often find ‘very’ in front of a more common word, such as ‘good,’ ‘necessary,’ ‘interesting,’ or ‘important.’
But if you use it too much, the meaning can be lost.
In addition, it can make your writing and speaking seem boring and repetitive.
Try to use more descriptive English words instead of very to sound more precise and convincing in English.
We use the English adjective ‘good’ to describe something or someone as positive.
Because this adjective is used so frequently, the positive meaning of ‘good’ can be lost if you use it all the time.
Instead, you want to use more precise words.
Here is a list of words that you can use to describe something positive in more detail:
The adjective ‘bad’ means the opposite of ‘good.’ However, we should not use it too much in business because it can sound too direct and negative.
It is a good idea to know a few alternatives to say that something is not good.
Words to say instead:
- poor: a poor performance
- unacceptable: His behavior during the meeting was unacceptable.
- unpleasant: Today’s meeting had an unpleasant atmosphere.
- could be improved: I think the report could be improved.
- of low quality: The products we received are of low quality.
- serious: We have a serious problem.
- unsuccessful: Her attempt to present the new marketing plan was unsuccessful.
Here is another adjective that we often use at work: the adjective ‘important’ is one of the 100 most commonly used English words in writing.
Example: Our customers are very important to us.
Does this sentence sound interesting or convincing? Not really.
If we use ‘important’ too much, our writing becomes boring and people stop believing us.
Try using different words with similar meanings when possible. It will make your writing sound much more convincing.
The English word ‘but’ is a conjunction, so we use it to connect and contrast two different ideas.
This example shows how we use ‘but’ to link two different statements:
We need to hire a new IT assistant, but it will be difficult to find the right person for the job.
‘But’ is such a useful and easy word.
However, when you write English professionally, it is helpful to know a few different ways to say but.
We use the English word ‘because’ as a conjunction to connect two sentences. This means that the second sentence part is the result of the first.
Example: The entire team understood the problem because her presentation was clear.
Conjunctions make your ideas and writing flow.
Still, if we repeat the word ‘because’ too often, our writing sounds boring and monotonous.
Therefore, it is wise to know and use different conjunctions with similar meanings.
What to say instead:
- due to: We can’t attend the meeting due to our flight schedule.
- therefore: The company did not make enough profit this year. Therefore, seven employees had to leave.
- as: As the team missed the deadline, Andrew decided to finish alone.
- since: She believed in the product, since it solves a real problem.
In informal emails or chats, the English adjective ‘happy’ is a great word to express enthusiasm.
Example: I’m happy to report that we achieved our targets this month.
Still, sometimes it is better to use a more professional or formal word instead.
What to say instead:
- glad: John was glad that I joined the meeting.
- content: I am content with my work.
- thrilled: The board is thrilled to announce the new CEO.
- delighted: We are delighted with the new addition to our team.
- pleased: I am pleased to hear that the production is going well.
- satisfied: We are satisfied with our employees’ performance.
This is the only verb in our list of overused words. We often use the verb ‘to look’ in writing.
However, your writing will sound more professional if you sometimes use synonyms for this verb.
What to say instead:
- observe: She looked around the room to observe the team members’ reactions.
- study: We really need to study the data before we make any decisions.
- review: That’s okay! I will review your draft later.
- glance: During his presentation, Phil glanced at the clock.
It is great to be able to say something positive about something or someone.
‘Nice’ is an adjective that describes people or things, e.g. the weather.
While it is positive, it can sound vague.
We should all know a few positive adjectives in English that we can use instead of ‘nice.’
What to say instead:
- pleasant: Working with him on the team has been a pleasant experience.
- lovely: What a lovely office!
- correct: Everything about it is correct.
- likeable: She is such a likeable person and a great team player.
Here is another word that loses its significance if you use it too often.
Often, our texts don’t sound interesting at all even if we use the word ‘interesting.’
Thankfully, there are many adjectives in English with a similar meaning as ‘interesting’ that you can use in business situations.
Conclusion: Become a Better Writer by Using Synonyms
A wonderful writing technique for non-native English speakers is avoiding overused words in English.
Words, such as good, nice, interesting, and very, are used too often in English, so they can sound vague and uninteresting.
Instead, try to use synonyms – words with similar meanings – whenever you can.
As a result, your writing will be more precise and vivid.
Moreover, I encourage you to use vocabulary tools to memorize alternatives for these words.
I recommend Quizlet or another flashcard tool to remember new English words.