Filter Words – Who Knew? Not Me

A week ago, I stumbled onto a YouTube video discussing filter words. Never hearing this term before, I watched, listened and learned…and discovered I was guilty of using filter words.

What are Filter Words

Although I’m relatively new to the idea, my understanding is: words that create distance between the reader and the detail the character is seeing, hearing, tasting or feeling.

In other words, we are not using one of our senses to digest the story, rather instead, we are being told through one of the character’s senses.

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5 Words that Weaken Your Sentences

Used when needed, these words can be powerful, but when they are used unnecessarily, they can weaken a sentence and undermine the impact the writer wants to deliver.

Identifying these words and testing to see if they are truly necessary is one of the keys to writing powerful sentences.

Some

In general, this determiner means an unspecified amount of something: an object, of people or anything that can be measured or not measured. It’s also used as a pronoun: Some of us left early. The unspecific nature of this word makes it detrimental to sentences when used unnecessarily.

Compare these sentences…

  1. “I want some candy,” said Becky.
  2. “I want candy,” said Becky.
  3. “I want one candy,” said Becky.
  4. “I want your bag of candy,” said Becky.
  5. “I want all the candy in the world,” said Becky.

In this instance, sentences two through five indicate how Becky is feeling and may hint at her personality. Is she indecisive, watching her sugar intake, greedy or unrealistic? By choosing another word or leaving out some altogether, the sentence becomes stronger and reveals more about Becky.

A few more examples of when you can eliminate some

  • Without some additional funding, the idea would never fly.
  • Without additional funding, the idea would never fly.
  • I enjoy my day when some family come to visit.
  • I enjoy my day when family comes to visit.

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Cool Online Dictionary

I have about a dozen or more paperback and hard cover dictionaries. They sit on my shelf a few feet away. They contain thousands, possibly millions, of words that will help me write a story.

But sometimes I’m lazy, and I don’t want to get up. Sometimes I have my feet soaking in warm water and essential oils, so I can’t get up without making a mess. Sometimes I need to check on current changes to spelling and grammar use.

So sometimes, I use an online dictionary. There are many, and you don’t have to settle on one. Almost all are free.

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My Fairies are Gay!

Words are powerful. They can drag us to our knees, fill us with joy and boost our spirits when we’re depressed. But words can also be powerless to the whims of people who believe they are doing right by dictating how we should use or view them.

Over the past fifty years, several words have become tarnished by misuse. These words, that were once useful descriptive words, are now banned or restricted.

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Which Language Do You Write?

I hadn’t realised it, but when I was skeptical, I was wrong.

Instead of skeptical, I really wanted to be sceptical. Yeah, that’s right. As a Canadian who strives for Canadian English, I should have used C instead of K. But as far as I remember, I had never spelt the word this way before. But then again, maybe I did while in school.

Sometimes the greatest influence on our English language in Nova Scotia is from the United States. It doesn’t help that some English teachers are ignorant to our Canadian spellings. We grow up hearing one spelling or another or both and by the time we’re my age we’re totally confused by the way certain words are spelt.

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