Three Overused Words

There are three words that I see and hear so often that I want to scream, grab a red pen, and slash them out of existence.

1. Epic
2. Awesome
3. Amazing

I admit, I’m guilty of using these words. It’s a habit now. “That cake tasted amazing!” “The third Lord of the Rings movie was epic!” “You can’t spell awesome without me!”

Those words are supposed to be used to modify things that are sincerely epic, awesome, and amazing; maybe things like epic poetry, God, and nature. Now, every tiny little minor thing is epic, awesome, or amazing.

I don’t know exactly how these words started getting so overused. Maybe we can slowly begin to cut back on using them – or use them only when appropriate, as all words are meant to be used.

What words do you think are being overused?

11 thoughts on “Three Overused Words

  1. As I tell my students, words like that are judgement words that tell me nothing about the thing being described most of the time. Give me the specific details, and than I’ll know if the subject is amazing or awesome. I think that the abuse of these words come from an urge to amplify everything, but most statements aren’t all that important.

    Epic, on the other hand, has an established meaning. The problem there is that too few speakers do the work of learning their own language.


    • Right – it is important for readers to judge whether something is “awesome” for themselves, not to be spoon-fed by the writer. Like most adjectives… they can be done without. Thanks, Greg!


  2. I try to avoid using words other than “said” for “he said” or “she said.” A friend of mine was writing stories once and my main comment to her was that her characters always “cried” or “called” or “chorused” or “exclaimed” etc. It was like reading an old Hardy Boys book. Occasionally those things are useful (and sometimes even necessary), but most often a simple “said” works just fine.


  3. I overuse Awesome and Amazing. I’ll try to do better. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I rarely use Epic but (now that it’s forefront in my mind), it will probably force its way into conversations against my wishes. ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • That’s like when someone says “don’t think of purple elephants,” you always think of one. ๐Ÿ™‚


  4. I’m with you. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also have a minor quibble with people “hating” or “loving” things that cannot possibly provoke such strong emotion. McDonalds, we are not “loving it”. Some people may like a BigMac, but I do not think that there is much passion involved. There are so many words to choose from, why not use them?
    – Though one may say that Lord of the Rings is epic, since it is an epic kind of tale. But that’s in the Greek sense of the word and not in a “that’s like totally epic!” sort of way.


  5. “Boss.” People today use this slang word in place of “awesome” or “epic,” so as to say: “That movie was boss!” I have no idea who came up with this misinterpretation; it is really annoying.


    • That reminds me of when I was in fifth grade and everything was “the bomb” – I never liked that expression and never used it.


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