Why you should NEVER use absolutes in your writing

In the race to be heard online, communicators employ extreme tactics to attract the eyes and ears of potential audiences. Avoid falling prey to these excesses.

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There’s nothing worse than sentences that begin, “There’s nothing worse than…”

Unless, of course, you’re being ironic to illustrate a point; then it’s acceptable. Quite brilliant, actually.

In the frenzy to be heard above the online cacophony, many writers resort to absolutes. Rather than strengthening their message, such abuses weaken their credibility—and that’s never good.

Here are some absolutes that writers should avoid. (That’s avoid, not ban.) Come to think of it, this advice doesn’t apply simply to writers. In an oral presentation or even in meaningful conversation, you’re probably better off not painting yourself into a linguistic corner.

Always/never (ever). These two provide a good starting point—not the best, perhaps, but good enough—for our discussion. Face it, 999,999 times out of a million is a lot, but it’s not always. Adverbs such as almost, nearly, or even seemingly can alloy these terms, which can otherwise be perceived as bellicose or accusatory. “You always…” or, “You never…”

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