Posted in better writing, editing, good writing, how to be more descriptive, how to write, learning to write, rewrite, The Writer's Toolbox, writing, writing advice, writing better

The Dreaded “It”

it-exampleEver read a piece of writing that drove you nuts, because it kept using the word it? Now sometimes it can come in handy. Really it can, but a lot of times it can be overused to the point of being annoying. And sometimes it just leaves the reader wondering exactly what you meant by “it”. It’s one of those words you avoid using if at all possible.

A technique I use to spot all the “its” and determine if each one should stay or go the way of all bad writing is to ask myself some simple questions…

  • Do I really need this “it” here?
  • Can I use another word to describe the “it” better?
  • And last but certainly not least, can the reader understand what “it” truly means?

After asking these questions, I usually find myself changing the “it” to another word or phrase, and yep it the text definitely reads better, and it the message is that much clearer.

I’ve been changing my “its” for awhile now. It took a writing friend pointing out all my horrific “its” for me to come to my senses. Since then, I’ve been quite conscious of them. And like a muscle that becomes stronger with exercise, my dread “its” have slowly disappeared from my writing and have become almost something I didn’t have to think about.

My writing has certainly become more precise since I’ve chased all those useless “its” away.

So I dare you, scan that piece you’re writing on. How many “its” did you find? Come on be honest. How bad was it really?

Now practice it this technique. And before you know it (that one actually belongs lol…), you’ll no longer be hounded by the dreaded “it”.

2 thoughts on “The Dreaded “It”

  1. This is actually a pretty decent way of improving your writing. On one layer, you can proofread it, and on another, it elevates the standard. Good article on the over usage of “it”!


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