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I can do the Can-Can, can you do the Can-Can . . .

“Can” is another one of those words that creeps its way into my writing when my back is turned. It is hard to type when one’s back is turned, but you know what I mean.

“Can” hides as “can’t” too, so be careful.

This time, instead of silly made-up sentences as examples, I give you sentences torn from my manuscript before I edited out the “can.”

I can express myself in every dish I create. 

Can you really? Then why don’t you?

I express myself in every dish I create. 

~~~~~

A delicious meal has magical powers that can make a bad day into a good one.

Ooh. What’s for dinner?

A delicious meal’s magical power transforms a bad day into a good one.

 ~~~~~

 French women can throw on a simple black dress and string of pearls and look as though they are Coco Chanel’s best friend.

That is how I look too.

When I throw on a simple black dress and string of pearls, I look as though I am Coco Chanel’s best friend.

 ~~~~~

Mushrooms can give sauces an earthy flavor.

You do know what mushrooms are grown in, don’t you?

Mushrooms infuse sauces with an earthy flavor.

 ~~~~~

I can’t tell you the difference between portobello and a chanterelle mushrooms.

Me either.

The difference between portobello and chanterelle mushrooms mystifies me.

A word of caution ~ Don’t be tempted to change “can” to the wordy “is able to,” “has the ability to,” or “is capable of.”

Sometimes you don’t need the word “can” at all. Other times, the simple solution is to find a rigorous verb to put in its place.

For advice on other words that sneak into your writing, clink on the links below:

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