Crutch words

Nearly every human being (if not all) have expressions and words we like to use more often than others. We either use them from habit, or because we can’t remember a synonym, or because we don’t know any other synonym. When we talk to people, the listener’s mind doesn’t always pick up on those repetitions, and if it does, it focuses on the meaning of the sentence as a whole rather than that any of the words we keep repeating.

That’s not the case with written words. The ancient Romans used to say, Scripta Manent, which loosely means the written word endures. The full saying was, verba volant, scripta manent, meaning words are volatile, the written words endure. And they were right in more than one levels. For instance, when we read something, it’s easier to pick up repetitions. I’m not sure why that is, maybe because our eyes can pick up patterns, or perhaps  our minds work differently when we read something instead of saying it. We, as writers, owe it to our readers to present them with the best and most descriptive of our work we can possibly create.

One way of achieving this is by realising we’re using crutch / repetitive words, and do our best to come up with a synonym that is more descriptive and conveys the same message in a better way.

One such word is LOOK, when used as a verb meaning to examine visually. Below is a small list of synonyms you can use instead of look. Now, before you use them, make sure you understand the inherent meaning of each word, since synonym to a word doesn’t necessarily mean equivalent. Also keep in mind that some of those words are also considered filter words, and may cause problems with telling instead of showing. Use your judgement.

Keep in mind that I focused on the synonyms for look that mean to examine visually and none of its other meanings.