So yeah, here’re some words I use

If you missed the last post, check it for an example of how I speak. (And yeah, you’re reading an example of how I write.)

First off, just to clarify, I mentioned three things I thought might skew the example away from how I actually speak:

  1. It was a monologue. Conversations are always different than straight up speaking for any length of time. I didn’t have any immediate context or feedback to work with, which changes the dynamics.
  2. I prepared a topic ahead of time. I knew I was going to talk about how I speak vs. how I write, but that was about it. And it showed. The whole thing is confusing because I didn’t have much direction. I’m more clear in person when I have a reason to talk (besides just getting something down to analyze later).
  3. I was emotionless. Since I didn’t really have anything to say and I recorded it after midnight, none of the cool words like “seriously” or “amazing” or “fantastic” made it in, which are usually more part of my vocabulary.

In this post, I’ll start with some specific words I use when I speak. In the coming posts, I’ll move into sentence and paragraph structure. Here we go…

Casual/general/weak filler words

My active vocabulary isn’t very robust. Friends have said I use big words, but in general, my verbs are weak.

That transfers into my writing. Most of the time, I don’t obsess over stronger verbs because I don’t want to put in the effort. You could say I’m lazy. Or you could say I choose to share ideas instead of create masterpieces.

Either way, I’ve found that just by introducing weak, casual words into my writing, I automatically start sounding the way I speak:

  • Actually
  • Really
  • Just
  • Some
  • Thing
  • Something
  • Use
  • Okay
  • Lot
  • Bunch
  • Bit
  • Stuff
  • Pretty
  • Yeah
  • Whatever
  • Basically
  • Though
  • “To be” verbs (is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been)
  • “To have” verbs (have, has, had, etc.)
  • Oh
  • Ah
  • Um
  • Uh

And so on. Back in the day, these were all words I tried to cut. They’re all lame, technically. They don’t add imagery or depth. They’re too general. But now I use all but the last two when I write, because they help me sound informal. Because they help me sound the way I speak.

In other words, I’m willing to sacrifice literary richness for personal connection. I’m not as concerned with eloquence and efficiency. I want realness.

I do the same with common phrases:

  • Kind of
  • Sort of
  • Of course
  • I mean
  • I think
  • I guess
  • I suppose

Exaggerations

I love exaggerations.

  • Totally
  • Absolutely
  • Definitely
  • Seriously
  • Amazing
  • Fantastic

This is a personality thing. I’m pretty forward about issues I actually care about. I can seem indecisive sometimes, but that’s when I’m indifferent. If I care, though, I totally care.

You’ll notice too that each of those words are strong, definitive, and positive. I like them for their energy. Something to keep in mind.

Taking that a little further, I twist the literal meaning and even the common meaning of some words:

  • Lame
  • Sweet
  • Cool
  • Hot
  • Man
  • Guys
  • Insane
  • Crazy
  • Ridiculous (and my own “ridicalicious” and “dicaricalous”)

These are all pretty common examples, but I can’t think of any others. You get the idea though.

Made up words

Of course, you can make up words any way you like. But the words I make up on the fly usually start as normal words, and then I add endings to make them work in the sentences the way I want them to. The two most common…

  • -ness (scaredness, honestyness, etc.)
  • -ish (Facebookish, coolish, etc.)

Contractions

In most cases, if I can use a contraction, I do. I even make up some that seem to work but probably aren’t in a dictionary (like “Here’re” = “Here are”).

I have a couple friends who don’t use contractions, and it actually annoys me. It’s like it slows down my thoughts as I’m reading along. It’s a distraction for me. I’m sure for other people, contractions are more distracting… whatever.

So go back to the previous post with the transcription and see how many of these you can find in what I said.

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