Don’t cut the ground out from under your own feet.
There are some words and phrases that, while they’re meant to intensify the meaning of a word or phrase, more often have the effect of weakening it. Very is one such; instead of adding a stronger punch to whatever it modifies, it suggests instead that the writer didn’t think the idea was mportant enough to spend time finding a better word.
Rather and somewhat have a similar effect; they undercut what’s being said.
And then there’s seem. Most of the time, seem is better avoided — also seemingly and apparently and appear to be. Don’t shilly-shally; if something is hot, say that it’s hot, not that it seems to be hot.
(This brief bit of crankiness brought to you by the temperature outside, which is currently -20 F, and by the question, “How warm can you keep a two-story house with a full basement in deep snow country?”, to which the answer is, “Never quite warm enough.”)
2 thoughts on “Another Thing Not to Do”
On a lark I just searched those words in my current short story. I used “seem” twelve times in 5000 words. Oops.
“Seems” also means “not really.”
This is the old Dungeons and Dragons thing: If the DM says, “There seems to be a door on the north wall,” you can bet there isn’t one. And if she says, “The dragon seems to be asleep,” stand by. That dragon is awake and watching.