1. Codename_Ater

    Codename_Ater New Member

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    I love the word 'however'... But it needs to stop!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Codename_Ater, Jan 14, 2017.

    Hello,

    Brand new writer so I appreciate your patience. I tried to search the forum but I could not find anything related to this topic. If this is a repeat post, I apologize in advance.

    I recently started a career in research and it requires me to write academic journal articles, something I am starting to fall in love with. Part of this involves writing a lot of contrasting statements side by side. I noticed this is leading to me overusing the word 'however'. In some cases I was using 'however' in almost every sentence. I tried using other adverbs but quickly realized this does not improve the follow when dealing with contrasting statements. I think part of it is my limited writing style. More specifically, I notice I approach sentences the same way almost every time.

    I am trying to improve my writing style by really thinking about someone else's writing style when reading. However (I had to use it once), I still find myself falling back into the same patterns time after time. I was wondering if anyone had any other suggestions on the best ways to broaden your writing style.

    The answer may be simply more practice and more reading however (there I go again), one can hope others have faced similar issues when they were starting out.

    Let me know. Thank you!
     
  2. Run Escape

    Run Escape New Member

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    If you want to sound less redundant with your word choices, you could just omit introductary words. It makes you sound more concise as well.
     
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  3. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Firstly, Welcome. :)

    So you've used your yets, your buts, your 'with that in minds', etc..till thesaurus exhausted?

    How about jiggle your sentences about and front load the caveats/clauses? Use ifs, despites, notwithstandings...? The repetition then may go unnoticed.
     
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  4. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    If I had a dime for every "however" my editor excised from my first book, I would have a whooooole lot of dimes. If I had another dime for every "very" and "actually" she removed as well, I could probably retire from my day job and write full time. :D

    I do try to be cognizant of it while writing, now that I know it's a recurring issue I have, but for the most part I just write unneeded words like these in lazily and edit them out after.
     
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  5. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Supporter Reviewer Contributor

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    How often do you need to write contrasting statements? Can you reword or rephrase to get around it? Can you use, for example, dialogue to show contrasting statements between characters? How do other writers do it?

    You don't need to answer these questions here. It's just something to think about and give you some ideas.
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If you're comparing A and B, "however" shouldn't be a problem as it's not appropriate. If the contrast is between A and Not-A, that's different.

    As in, "Research has found that young children who jump through hoops ten times daily tend to develop a strong sense of synoptic hyper-rotationalism. In contrast, those who merely toe the line repeatedly in the course of a week fail to show the same development in this essential skill." No "howevers"needed.

    However, :supercheeky:you can say "Research has found that young children who jump through hoops ten times daily tend to develop a strong sense of synoptic hyper-rotationalism; however, the balance of two-wave haemokinesis decreased in the same population." Pardon pseudo-academic blather.

    "However" means you're pointing out a drawback or a problem with what has just been said before, as opposed to drawing a comparison between it and something wholly different. So if you're primarily drawing comparisons, you can (mostly) give that "however" the boot and concern yourself with overusing some other phrase.

    (It never ends, does it?)

    Oh, and welcome to the Forums!
     
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  7. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    just stick with "but"... there's not comparative "but" can't pull off... especially if you're writing a factual research paper that doesn't require literary style... the reader doesn't need a "however" prompt to recognize that two statements are in disagreement...
     
  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    We sometimes get stuck in these little syntactic fetishes. I regularly have to go back through my dialogue and snip the word "So," off the beginning of what seems to be a preposterous number of spoken sentences. I rarely make us of the word in mention; however, when I do make use of it between two independent clauses, I find that a semicolon is a must. The nature of independent clauses joined by the word however is that they are tightly linked, ideologically; thus, a semicolon is needful. A full stop is too much of a break, and a comma is not enough. YMMV. ;)
     
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  9. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I have the same problem starting dialogue with "Well, ". I do it all the damn time!
     
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  10. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    Read it back the next day, you don't even need the 'however,' and semi-colons are like measles.
     
  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    Agreed. They're the most abhorrent, distasteful, and ugly marks ever to appear on a piece of paper. Screw all the "rules" that call for them.
     
  12. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    They are always the last thing applied before a...a...a...submission. And that final speed read:

    'Ahh, a semi-colon there, and there, there, and there - midway in the first sentence. Where was I? Ah, sendddd...a millionaire next month...good night.'
     
  13. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    Semis and colons...what's not to like? I love 'em. Then again, I missed my measles jabs. But I am screwing the rules (homeboys), as I'm sure I can't use them properly. Too far gone now anyhow to placate nayers; I've got to keep the faith on account I don't wish to/can't go back to year dot (+comma) to winkle them out.
     
  14. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I liked them as well; just they infect opening paragraphs; one I've sent away maybe three times now always comes back to me; post rejection;

    Kurt stamped through the unforgiving snow of the cruel Russian winter; and away stood the tanks in silhouette; the salvation of Axis positions shone like sugared breakfast cereal; onwards he trudged; ploughed through powder; the vital information curled in his greatcoat pocket;

    'Halt;' cried the guard;

    I always have a little cry at the desk;
     
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  15. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, darlings, it's one thing to spark up at a party. It's quite another thing to remain baked all day. You just have to know when to put the semicolon down and be an adult. ;)
     
  16. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    I dunno about that. My little Eisenstein was telling me yesterday 'bout this woman he knows. She keeps her stash in a jar only for the 'special occasions.'

    'What a bitch,' he said.

    'You're not wrong, son. I hate people like that,' I replied.

    And remember when we were twenty, this guy, we went back to his place, he was old, twenty-three or four, was exactly the same way, came back from the kitchen with 'something special' after he 'burped the baby,' he said. We had no respect for that scum.
     
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  17. Francis de Aguilar

    Francis de Aguilar Contributor Contributor

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    Hahahaha.
     
  18. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime New Member

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    For a reason unknown to me, except in the dark recesses of my mind, the use of "However" is not in my writing mix. I suspect some dedicated nun with fire in her eyes whacked my offending writing hand one too many times and I lost my love for it.
     
  19. watermark

    watermark Member

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    Actually, that's my problem: too many but's. I need to start striking them out, and maybe replace them with however's. XD
     
  20. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Get off my Balzac... Staff Contributor

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    You'd be surprised. Conjunctions like "but" and "and" should be invisible unless you're starting too many sentences with them.
     
  21. kenc

    kenc Member

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    I suffer from the 'however' affliction too.
    However, there are also other words I over-use, such as "though".
    At least I don't use "but" too much, though.
    But there is the occasional exceptions to that rule.
    Ho hum.
     
  22. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    I think you have a point, however...
     

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