Three Letter Word

OK. It’s official. I am in hell.

While playing with advanced find in MS Word 7 (yes, I do have better things to do but what can I say?)  I stumbled over an alarming trend in my latest chapter. The. That unassuming article – everywhere. So, of course, unable to leave well enough alone, I investigated my entire 45,078 first draft and was horrified by the vast amount of thes therein. Grand total of 2052 so far.5573590854_d7d2298ddb

I researched around and found a great resource in www.owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/. According to this post, the is a definite article. Like an adjective, it modifies nouns. In this case, specific or particular nouns. OK.  I checked a couple of my favorite fiction authors, calculated their use of the. They hardly use the three letter word at all.

Repeat words plague every writer, I’m sure, but this onslaught is horrible. My writing is suffering, that’s obvious. Am I trying too hard? Probably. But if I’m repeating a word why couldn’t it be a cool multi-syllable word like, say, minesweeper or necromancer? I mean, this is embarrassing.

 

So, what’s your repeat monster word and how do you control it?

Photo by Foter

 

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29 thoughts on “Three Letter Word

  1. “That” is the word “that” haunts many writers, I think. I try to take it out whenever I can, but it just keeps cropping up!

    • That is a common one, right up there with the. I think some words just have us in their sights and, like literary dandelions, they require constant shots of Word B Gone.

  2. I better check my writing now. Oh now. I am afraid! 😮

  3. I can see why you are bummed. Possible we should all keep a list of specific articles and modifiers posted on our wall, highlighting those which are least used.

  4. I never thought of checking my word frequency until now. So I ran my first draft through a checker and it turns out that I used “the” over 10,000 times. *sigh* Well it is a rough draft 😛

  5. … Now I have to go check my writing 😀

  6. Repeated words are always a nightmare! I’m already anticipating a lot of them when I get to redrafting my WIP 😉

  7. I remember a band going by the name of The The so perhaps it is trendy to use the same word a lot? The is a key component, although I do believe there is a book out there that doesn’t have the word in at all and one that doesn’t have the letter ‘e’ in either.

  8. My bad habit words are ‘just’, ‘still’ and ‘really’, but don’t be too jealous of people who repeat big words! Those stand out even worse than the tiny offenses. If you’ve read Twilight, you might have noticed ‘incredulous’ pop up and incredible number of times. I know I did. 😦

    Try to remember that you’ve got a first draft on your hands! A diligent editor can vacuum those little dust bunnies right out of your story. 🙂

    • Writers have so many ‘favorite’ words, don’t they? Sometimes I wonder, though, how many times are too many for those words? Guess it differs from editor to editor. Hell, I’d be thrilled if I got far enough to worry about an editor:)

  9. My repeated words are ‘that’ and ‘yet’, I find the little buggers cropping up everywhere in my writing!

  10. Fascinating blog and so appropriate a post! Stumbled upon you and feel very at home! And because I tend to drift into the passive voice, I repeatedly say “Had” and “Has.” Oh and “And.” I’ve said it six times in just this short comment. And Thank you! 😉

    • Glad you stumbled by! My use of the has now given way to hyphenated words and the even worse problem…the ings! Oh well, the plight of writers never ends.

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