Editing

Count Your Many Phrases

We all have our pet phrases and they can inadvertently sneak their way into our manuscripts. Yesterday I came across a marvelous web site that can help you discover how often a particular phrase is repeated in your article or manuscript.

Using the Phrase Frequency Counter online, you can actually track what phrases are overused. It is also a great way to pick out those clichés that can creep into your writing.

Out of curiosity I tried the site out on the interview page on my web site. I discovered the phrase “retail potential” is used at least three times. This gave me the chance to review the piece and see if that needed adjusting.

Years ago I edited a manuscript that used the word “very” as an adjective (i.e. “the very idea” “the very book”) over and over again. After I redlined nearly all of them the author sent me a hilarious e-mail with the word “very” repeated 500 times. The author said he was getting it out of his system so I wouldn’t have to work so hard on his next book!

From what I could tell there is no limit to the size of the document you can paste into the search screen.

Let us know what phrase you overused in your work-in-progress.

HT: Shelf Awareness

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