Six words that can ruin your sentence
Actually– Crutch words are words that we slip into sentences in order to give ourselves more time to think or to emphasize a statement. Most often, crutch words do not add the meaning of a statement. Actually is the perfect example of a crutch word. It is meant to signify something that exists in reality, but it is more often used as a way to add punch to a statement (as in, “I actually have no idea”).
Literally– This adverb should be used to describe an action that occurs in a strict sense. Often, however, it is used inversely to emphasize a hyperbolic or figurative statement: “I literally ran 300 miles today.” Literally is one of the most famously used crutch words in English.
Basically– This word is used to signal truth, simplicity, and confidence, like in “Basically, he made a bad decision.” It should signify something that is fundamental or elementary, but too often this word is used in the context of things that are far from basic in order to create a sense of authority and finality.
Honestly– This crutch word is used to assert authority or express disbelief, as in, “Honestly, I have no idea why he said that.” However, it very rarely adds honesty in a statement.
Like– This lazy word is used to give a speaker more time to think or because the speaker cannot shake the habit of using the word. Like should describe something of the same form, appearance, kind, character, or amount. But, very often, it is used involuntarily in conversation, just like um.
Obviously– This word should signify an action which is readily observable, recognized, or understood. Speakers tend to use it, however, to emphasize their point with regards to things that aren’t necessarily obvious: “Obviously he should have thrown the ball to first base.”
Which crutch word do you rely on?