10 Words To Avoid In Formal Writing

The following ten words should be avoided at all costs in formal writing. Some of the words are misspellings while others are used in the vernacular - and should stay there! 1. alot If your grammar checker doesn't highlight this as an error then you have a problem. 'Alot' is in fact two words; 'a' and 'lot', and while it is a common mistake, it is still considered an error. 2. and etc. The abbreviation etc. (from the Latin et cetera) means "and so on," so 'and etc.' is a redundant phrase. It is one to avoid in essays as it looks like you simply can't think of anything else. 3. anywheres Huck Finn is the only one who can get away with this. If 'anywheres' appears anywhere in your dictionary, it's probably labeled "nonstandard" or "dialectal" for a reason. 4. could of NOT to be confused with 'could've' which is a contracted form of 'could have' and carries a different meaning. As for 'coulda', 'shoulda', 'woulda', avoid dwelling on them--both in writing and in life. 5. hisself It may have been used frequently in Middle and Early-Modern English but 'hisself' is no longer part of the standard British lexicon. 6. furtherest Just No. The comparative form of far is farther or further. The superlative form is farthest or furthest. Nothing's gained by combining the two forms. 7. irregardless This double negative may not deserve Bryan Garner's label of "semiliterate . . . barbarism" but he's probably right that it "should have been stamped out long ago". 8. its' 'Its' is a possessive pronoun (like his or her). 'It's' is a contraction of 'it is' or 'it has' which leaves nothing for 'its'' to do so don't use it. 9. let's us 'Let's us' means "let us us" which is nonsense. To avoid the repetition, write 'lets' for example 'She lets us play in her yard'. 10. nohow If you have the know-how to write, you don't need to be told to avoid 'nohow'. What even is 'nohow'? I've personally never seen it used but apparently, it's a common mistake. Instead, you should use in no way or not at all.