Weasel Word Detector

I recently read an article about weasel words. These are words and phrases aimed at creating an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said, when in fact only a vague or ambiguous claim has been communicated.

I searched around for examples and put together a list. Below is a form that will allow you to paste some text and have the results returned with the weasel words highlighted.

I ran a few of my stories through and the results are humbling.

Many of the weasel words can be deleted since they are superfluous. The cure for the rest is to use an exact word instead of the vague one.

One problem is that that these words have some legitimacy in text, especially in conversation. Some usage is weasel-ish and some usage is not. It is best to ban these words, but there will always be exceptions. The important thing is that they do not creep into your prose and diminish the impact of what you want to say.

(Run the text above through the detector. It has several weasel words.)

Paste your text here and press when done:

2 Comments

  • I can hear talking in the distance. I can’t hear what they’re saying, it all sounds like gibberish, but I know they’re there. I can hear them, there are many of them. I just need to get to the next room.

    Damn these walls. How many of my people are just beyond my reach? Why don’t they speak Primal? [narrative, sound effects] …More noises, non-lupine noses. [begins scratching at wall] I’m afraid to find out what it is when I finally get there

  • Oh- Shit, I’m sorry. I was testing out the word thing and I typed some shitty scene in the wrong dialog box! Please, delete the previous comment!

    Please!

 

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I started reading Science Fiction in the 1950s. I started Writing SF in the 1960s. Then, I had a life. Now I am retired, raising chickens and keeping bees. I am still an avid reader and I have sold about 70 stories in the last 20 years.
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