Monday, July 23, 2018

It's Just One of Those Things...

1. Stuff/Things

Keep an eye out for ‘stuff’ and ‘things.’
You probably depend on these words when you’re unclear of the specific descriptive noun for the situation–a post title such as 4 things successful entrepreneurs do every morning, for example. 
Or, maybe you use ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ when you want to keep your tone informal and conversational. For example – Can you please do this post editing stuff for me?
But, if you’re in a business environment, the informality of these words will make you sound unprofessional. 
If you use these words excessively in your blog posts, then it’s time to replace them with more accurate and expressive diction.
Don’t expect the reader to spend extra energy to extract the exact meaning behind your writing. Content abound on the web and it’s easier for them to just close tabs and find another blog post that holds answers their questions faster and more efficiently. 
If ‘stuff’ or ‘things’ run rampant in your blog posts, consider using one of these replacements, based on the context. Strategies, reasons, points, concepts, aspects, elements and principles are all solid, more precise words. Here are 10 more alternatives, by

The blog from which I obtained some of the info presented in the last two posts also mentions this point. I'm surprised this did not come up at the writing group I attended last Saturday in one capacity or another. 

Though the blog talks about blog posts, I'm sure the same is true of all writing. Nearly every time when I've edited my memoir I see the words "thing(s)" or "something" quite frequently. I'm now surprised that the woman at the group who'd observed how much passive voice I'd used didn't see how often I had used the words "things," "something," and such. This could easily have prompted such a discussion. 

As with the alternatives to "very...", I'm not sure how many of the phrases in the graphic above I'd ever feel compelled to use. I guess it would depend on the context. Though off hand, I can't see many instances where some of the suggested words would fit the context of what I have written. This si going to take a lot of work. ...


  1. Sometimes stuff/things is the perfect word. When we say 'stuff happens' almost everyone is going to know precisely what sort of stuff we are referring to, without the need for a three paragraph long description.
    Rules are made to be broken.

  2. I can't get enough of exchangeable words. Love it!