I work with alphabets and punctuation marks, so it should be no surprise that I’m into grammar and writing, too. A recent tweet of mine that drew a lot of questions said “WRITING TIP: avoid using words that end in y.” Lots of people asked “y?”
This advice came from my college journalism professor, Ron Ross, who had a list of “UGH” words that you should avoid using whenever possible. I don’t remember all 7 words on that list, but I do remember the last one was my favorite: “any word that ends in y.”
That was aimed at journalism-style writing, but I think it applies to tweets, too. The reason is that lots of adverbs end in y, and adverbs are often passive, useless words that don’t enrich your writing. To write in an exciting, active voice, focus more on the nouns and verbs, cuz that’s where the action’s at. If you’re using adverbs, it might be because you didn’t choose the best verb. All I know is that when I take words that end in y out of my writing I like it better.
Some of the worst offenders are: really, very, fully, totally, truly, usually and especially. These words add bulk to your writing and don’t add much new information. Take ’em out and the meaning is often the same, just with a more direct voice.
Another one, which isn’t an adverb, is “my.” This one you should never use, because you shouldn’t write in the first person. Nobody cares about you; they only care about themselves. But there again, that’s journalism, not social media rules.
Another one is “try.” Yoda will tell you, there is no try, there is only “do.”
And “sorry.” That’s another one. I don’t need to know you’re sorry. Just try harder next time;)
Seriously. No more -y words, ok?