The average English speaker knows about 20,000 words, and no matter how chatty you are, it’s impossible to overuse words for the lack of knowledge. You could go for years without mentioning some of the words you know.

So why are there so many overused words in the English language?

Well, there are many reasons. For instance, crutch words.

Also called filler words, crutch words are usually meaningless sounds that people make when they are trying to put together their next statement. Words like uhm, like, and er are all filler words, and they are overused.

Substituting overused words with more captivating ones can add more color to your speech and writing.

But the point is not for you to completely avoid them. You should rather try to replace them with more interesting words.

Substituting overused words with more captivating ones adds more color to your speech and writing.

Here is a list of the 15 most overused words in the English language.

Why Do English Speakers Overuse Words?

People overuse and misuse simple words as well as big and outlandish words.

Simple words are used as crutches in speech and writing, while the more complex words come out when a speaker wants to appear smart or well-informed.

Here are some reasons why we fail to diversify our vocabulary:

Limited Social Interaction

Hanging out with the same group of friends, we tend to throw around similar words and phrases. It’s natural to incorporate the words you hear your friends use into your vocabulary.


Words like unique, incredible, interesting, and immersive are used to market products every day.

The fact that these words are so impactful puts them at risk of being misused.

Crutch Words

We also overuse filler words and phrases. Rather than relying on like and er to make your point, you should take the time to collect your thoughts and speak them all at once.

The quality of your content greatly improves when you use the correct term to describe an exact moment.

Why Avoid Overused Words?

Sure, they are common and easy to reach whenever you need to make a point; but overused words may cost you.

When translating content to English, you need to use words that correctly convey the author’s feelings and intentions.

They add little to no value

Take a look at these two statements:

“I finished my morning run, and then went to get some breakfast at the new coffee shop, and then went back home.”

“I finished my morning run, went to get some breakfast at the new coffee shop, and went back home.”

The second statement is more precise.

Like, then, just – such words fill up your page without adding any real value to the content.

You sound boring

Overused words make you sound boring and repetitive; avoid them! Even when you think you are intensifying your writing by adding words like ‘really’ and ‘very.’

Don’t put your readers to sleep.

The rise of the online marketing industry has increased the demand for catchy and action-oriented words.

When translating content to English, you need to use words that correctly convey the author’s feelings and intentions.

15 Most Overused Words (and Their Alternatives)

You need to write simply and concisely, and this means avoiding meaningless adjectives, modifiers, and intensifiers.

1. Amazing

You can hear it in your head by just reading the word on a page.

‘Amazing’ is a common word, which makes sense because this word is versatile and applicable in several ways.

You can use amazing to describe actions, experiences, as well as emotions.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should, at least not always.

Words to Use Instead of Amazing

  • Great (for the less grand experiences)
  • Astonishing

2. Interesting

This word is used so often that sometimes it gets difficult to understand what a person means when they say it.

Interesting is the automatic response people go for when they hear information they can’t quite comprehend.

It is also what people say when they are not really listening, therefore making it a crutch word.


  • Engaging
  • Intriguing
  • Compelling

3. Literally

You probably use this word all the time to add urgency (or exaggerate) a statement or an action.

The word is so overused that people don’t even bother to stick to the original meaning anymore.

“I am so hungry; I am literally dying!”

Because it is among the most overused and misused words out there, the intensity and depth that the word ‘literally’ holds are somehow fading.

Words to Use Instead

  • Positively
  • Absolutely

4. Nice

Nice can be used to describe how a person feels, how they’re dressed – all the way to what type of day a person is having.

‘Nice’ is usually the first word to form on people’s lips when they see something that catches their eye.

And this is for good reason too.

There aren’t too many choices that carry the same complementary value as the word ‘nice.’


  • Pleasant
  • Satisfying
  • Delightful

overused words

5. Hard

Another word with a good amount of versatility is ‘hard.’ It is widely used because it can describe a physical activity, an object, or a mental or emotional process.

I work hard, I am having a hard day, it’s been a hard year – all these words sound generic and convey little to no meaning.


  • Grueling
  • Exhausting
  • Laborious
  • Taxing

6. Change

Just so you know, there is nothing wrong with using an overused word.

In fact, in some instances, commonly used words the most effective at getting through to your audience.

Change is one such word.

It is inspirational and speaks to something bigger than all of us. Change the world. You also change your attitude, and you also change your life.


  • Transform
  • Mutate
  • Amend
  • Remake

7. Important

The problem with overused words is that over time, we become numb to them.

A word like ‘important’ can lose its meaning if used one too many times in a memo or an email.

After all, too much of something has never been good for anyone, right?


  • Urgent
  • Major
  • Key
  • Critical
  • Essential

8. Actually

This word is supposed to signify facts.

“Actually, the sun rises from the East.”

However, because it is so overused, the word has come to signify a difference in opinions. Like so:

“I actually think we should go with the green pain instead.”

Alternatives to Use

  • Indeed
  • Genuinely
  • Frankly
  • Admittedly

9. Bad

Spilling coffee on yourself results in a bad morning. You get caught in ‘bad’ traffic, have a bad day, and the narrative goes on until you finally get back to the solace of your home.

People use the word bad to describe most negative situations, but other words can make a much bigger impact on your readers.


  • Substandard
  • Poor
  • Inferior
  • Awful
  • Appalling

10. Good

Just like the word bad, good is also a general term that is overused.

‘good work’ ‘have a good day’ ‘good returns’ – this word does not have any strong meaning.


  • Profitable
  • Perfect
  • Fruitful
  • Superior
  • Fine

11. Like

We all know this crutch word, and you probably use it more than you should.

The original meaning of ‘like’ shows partiality towards a person or an object, but most people use it as a filler word.

This word is misused so much that sometimes, you can hear it as many as three times in a single sentence.


As a word of endearment:

  • Admire
  • Fancy
  • Enjoy
  • Adore

As a filler word:

  • Say

12. Unique

A word that ironically means ‘one of a kind’ has found its way into our daily vocabulary.

Unique is no longer a unique word to use.

Generic products are unique, mass-produced goods are also described as unique. This word carries a lot of weight and can get through to people – which is why it is so overused.


  • Distinctive
  • Special
  • Eccentric

13. Incredible

The more people use a word, the more ambiguous it becomes.

Incredible is a general term that people use in place of ‘good.’


  • Fantastic
  • Unbelievable
  • Inconceivable
  • Astounding

14. Experience

This word is commonly used in the job setting.

I want a professional with experience.

What is your experience in this industry?

Here are other words you can use to convey the same meaning:

  • Background
  • Skill
  • Knowledge.

15. Absolutely

This word represents a final and definite conclusion and affirmation to a statement. Absolutely shows confidence that the listener has received the message and will follow through with conviction and certainty.


  • Certainly
  • Undoubtedly
  • Definitely

How to Expand your Vocabulary

Crutch words, tired words, boring words – all different names that mean the same thing.

There are only so many times you can use the word ‘amazing’ or ‘interesting.’

Imagine you were a food reviewer. Would you say ‘this food is amazing’ all the time? Of course not. A diverse vocabulary instantly makes you stand out, hence capturing the attention of your audience.

The best way to incporate new words into your vocabulary is to practise.

Here are multiple exercises you can use to expand your vocabulary:

  • Read books, blogs, and anything else that might help you develop both your vocabulary and storytelling skills.
  • Play word games like scrabble.
  • Subscribe to websites that send a ‘word of the day.
  • Another good way to expand your vocabulary is by using the dictionary and the thesaurus. Look for meaningful synonyms to the most commonly used words.

Whenever you learn a new word, use it in conversation, and eventually, it will become a regular in your speech. You can be a language specialist with a little bit of time and patience.

Use More Words

Strive to use some of the less common words in your vocabulary.

Whether you are writing or speaking, you should avoid overused words that make you sound boring and repetitive.

In audio marketing or video marketing, using more captivating words will make you stand out from the crowd, hence attracting more consumers to your business.

Remember, as an average English speaker, you have more than 20,000 words in your vocabulary – use them.

When translating content, look for professional and expert translators with a diverse vocabulary.