September 12th, 2012

Words for Your Writing Toolbox: Get Rid of “Get”

Sharla’s been getting receiving tons of love at Writers In The Storm this week. As part of our “thank you,” we’re bumping this amazing post of hers up by several days. ~ Jenny


Your Writing Toolbox by JM at

by Sharla Rae

The idea for this blog was generated at one our recent critique meetings. We were critiquing a first draft and whoa! I heard an echo of one particular word all over two pages.

As it happens, way back in June of 2010, I wrote a blog called Echoes – Repeat Offenders and explained that they are words and phrases writers over use. Sometimes echoes are caused by a writer’s own speech pattern, that is, words we use a lot when we talk. But sometimes they pop up because we used weak or lame verbiage.  And sometimes the lame verb “is” itself an echo.

Ladies and Gents – I give you GET! 

I will admit that a character’s dialogue may sound more natural using the word “get” when he or she speaks BUT that’s no excuse to echo this nasty offender in the rest of your writing. As Fae once told us all during a critique discussion on using too many ellipses . . . “It’s lazy writing.”

Get accomplishes little. Get doesn’t act out anything. Get doesn’t grasp the subject. Get doesn’t generate a strong picture. Get lacks understanding. Get cannot salvage a bad description. Get won’t move a reader’s emotions. Get won’t snare any readers at all.

Get is a nasty little spawn of a weenie sentence that succeeds at nothing and makes for immature writing.

Get it? All of the above bolded words could be substituted for get or got or some form thereof.


Easy to say I know. But the following Get Rid Of Get List offers some handy dandy substitutes.


  • Instead of get information use: ask, inquire, obtain, glean
  • Instead of get things together: gather, group
  • Instead of get their business: acquire, contract, procure, attain, bag
  • Instead of get enough money > earn, obtain, acquire, procure, attain, gross, profit, borrow, reap
  • Instead of We got enough to > achieved, obtained etc.
  • Instead of we got it back > regained, recaptured

How about you? Can you add to this list?

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