Useless Adjective Thursday

Lately, I have been trying to avoid cliches, pare down useless adjectives, and eliminate over-explaining in my writing. Sometimes we think that more letters on the page are proof of more work accomplished, or we think our readers won’t understand what we mean unless we are painfully explicit. But really, good ideas just drown when tossed in with too many words.

As for useless adjectives, one that bugs me (perhaps irrationally) is “local.” I often feel like “local” is implied, rendering this adjective unnecessary. If you went to the grocery store today, won’t I assume it was a local grocery store? And if it weren’t local, wouldn’t you have said something like, “I drove 20 miles to check out the new grocery store in San Mateo today”? Local farmer’s market, local coffee shop … Let’s make a pact not to use “local” anymore.

What other adjectives are extraneous, yet so often used? I am going to keep my ears open this week. Wait on the edge of your seat until the next Useless Adjective Thursday – and in the meantime, stop modifying your nouns with “local.”

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3 responses to “Useless Adjective Thursday

  1. She Started It

    I use “local” all the time. And you’re right, it adds nothing to the sentence.

    I am a adjective and adverb whore — far worse with adverbs, actually. Steven King’s On Writing has helped me to mend my ways a little.

  2. What’s your opinion of using qualifiers with “unique”? I was confused when I heard a writer object strenuously to this practice until I gave it some thought. Then my little lightbulb when “ka-ping!”