Day 20: No-no words

A writer-friend introduced me to a new concept: the no-no word.

That’s a word you’re not allowed to use when you write.

She assigned her elementary students a composition, then told them they were not allowed to use the word was.

There’s a lot of talk going around about was these days. Several bloggers have written about the advisability of using it, and one of my online discussion groups examined the issue.

Should writers use was?

The answer to that question, I believe, is, It depends.

If I can find a more active or specific or colorful word, or a better construction, I use it. If I can’t, I write was.

When my teacher-writer-friend termed was a no-no word, however, and described the restrictions she had put on her students, I decided to step up to the challenge.

I stepped up.

I wrote.

I stepped down.

It was an enlightening ordeal.

Will I post the result?




The image of No made out of jigsaw puzzle pieces used courtesy of Horia Varlan via Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0 Generic license.

4 thoughts on “Day 20: No-no words

  1. Kathy, I shall think of ‘was’ all day now. We have a favourite saying when the football refuses to go in the back of the opposing team’s net:

    We was robbed.

    The East End of London had an influence in ‘was’ all its own….


    1. Was is a good word to think about, I guess. My friend told me about another no-no word, but I’ve forgotten what it…is.

      We was robbed was heard on this side of the Atlantic a few years ago, too, concerning a certain presidential election. :-/


  2. That is a hilarious post! And the other no-no word was “then.” Ha! I can’t write that sentence without my no-no word.

    On a different note, when I see No-No it makes me think of one my character’s as her nickname is No-No.


    1. I’d forgotten then. And I used it in the post. I have to go back and fix that.

      I’ve known several children who should have been called No-No.

      I hope you found your word.


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