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Once I discovered sneaky little words, such as the word “that,” littered my novel, I have been on the look out to see if there are others like the rascal “that.” I ran across The Guide to Grammar and Writing site sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation. It gives us a page titled “Avoid Problems Created by These Words or Phrases.”

I decided to test my manuscript against the 40 pieces of advice and was smugly confident in myself as I went down the list. That is, until I arrived at Number 13:

Got – Many writers regard got as an ugly word, and they have a point. If you can avoid it in writing, do so. I have got to must begin studying right away. I have got two pairs of sneakers. My novel was free of the words and phrases listed in Numbers 1 through 12, but what about the word “got.”

Thanks to Microsoft Word’s “Advanced Search and Replace” function, much to my chagrin, I used the word “got” a whopping 96 times! I changed all but a handful of “got-s” and wow, what a difference. For example:

I got to the appointment an hour early.

I arrived at the appointment an hour early.

I flew in on my broom an hour early for the appointment.

I am going to work my way down the rest of the list. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Do you have any other sneaky little words I should know about?

Photo Credit Kira Nichols – How cute is that!