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Skidmore College
The Skidmore Guide to Writing

Excessive or Overused Qualifiers

Avoid excessive or overused qualifiers.  Try to eliminate as many adverbs as you can, especially ones that modify whole sentences.

"Hopefully, we'll go to the dance."

Does this mean "We hope we'll go to the dance" or "We'll go to the dance in a hopeful frame of mind?" Overuse of adverbs lends a gee-whiz quality to the prose. Here's a list of some adjectives and adverbs that are used so often their meaning has been diluted:

  • totally
  • basically
  • actually
  • extremely
  • really
  • incredibly, incredible
  • awesome
  • amazing
  • ridiculous
  • simplistic
  • very
  • quite
  • unique

Look them up if you're tempted to use them, and make sure they say what you mean them to say.

To read more about style and clarity click here.