Weasel Words

, , | Colin Dawson

You work late at night to finish your Modlette.

But in the morning when you read your written passages the writing sounds bland.

You can’t send it for approval like this.

What happened?

Have weak phrases sneaked into your writing?

Will your learners be bored and switch off?

Weak phrases are very sneaky and can easily spoil your narrative.  The most experienced instructional writers have to stay vigilant; and edit their drafts with a sharp knife and a selection of spices.

Turning bland text into sizzling readable content may sound difficult, but it requires only two simple steps:

  1. Like a chef tastes a dish before serving, you need to know when your content lacks flavour.  You have to spot weak phrases.
  2. And just like a chef grinds a little extra pepper, sprinkles a few coriander leaves, or drizzles extra lime juice, you need to balance the flavours of your writing too.

Sounds hard?

It’s not.

Let’s start with spotting bland words first.  And then, I’ll tell you how to add more flavour to your writing.

4 must-know types of weak words

Type 1 : Chewy and tasteless

Like pineapple peel or walnut husk, you don’t want these words to turn up in your narrative.  They slow down your learner without adding meaning.  Chopping off is the best advice.

Examples:  Very, actual, in my opinion, really, just

Type 2 : Stale words

At one time these words were strong and powerful.  But over time, they’ve lost their meaning – like stale bread.

Examples:  ultimate, stunning, amazing, wonderful

Type 3 : Doughy words

These words have some taste, but aren’t flavoursome.  In moderation, they’re OK, but use them too often and you get a pizza with a doughy crust and no toppings.  The cook’s advice is to use with care.

Examples: them, it, there, he and other pronouns.

Is, are, was, and other forms to be

Type 4 : Words with low nutritional value

A coke quenches your thirst and appears to give energy, but its nutritional value is low.  A fruit smoothie sounds healthy, but may have a lot of sweeteners added.

Words with low nutritional value are similar, they seem to have meaning, but their meaning is weak.  For instances:  What is a good Modlette?  Do you mean it’s entertaining, engaging or meets its objectives?

Or how do you define a successful trainer?

Do they have lots of work, make a lot of money or inspire people to learn?

Words like good and successful are problems because they can be interpreted in many different ways - they’re not specific enough.

More examples:  nice, bad, effective.

Tune in next week when I will tell you “How to Add Flavour to Your Words”

Copyright © 2021 Modlettes
All rights reserved
Terms of Service