Oh yeah? I mean, No! No yeah! — What’s your “yeah?”

Yeah.  It’s my new nemesis.  Oh, I’ve had other nemeses’ in the past, but “Yeah” has just become the granddaddy of them all.

I’m editing out overused words in my manuscript, and while I was searching for “Oh” I noticed quite a few “Oh yeahs”  So I jotted down the word “yeah” at the end of my list to take a look at later.

Imagine my surprise, when sitting down to what I THOUGHT would be a short editing session, and I find that I’ve used the word “yeah” 223 times in a 246 page manuscript.


And it’s not even like “yeah” appears once a page.  There are several pages in a row that have no occurrences of “yeah” whatsoever.  And then the next page is all lit up with five yellow highlights.

How did this happen? – And how did none of my beta’s not even mention it?

One of my really strong points is dialog.  I can “hear” my characters talk, and I just transcribe.  When both of your main characters are teenagers, the word “yeah” seems to pop out a lot, and it SOUNDS absolutely fine, even though repeated.

But I’m sure a publisher wouldn’t be so enthusiastic about so many “yeahs” on a page.


Through editing, I cut it down from 223 to 67.  A lot of them still appear multiple times on a page, but I think they need to stay this way to keep the “voice” of the characters intact. And hey, they are teenagers. They say “yeah”, ya know?

In my final read for flow, I will make special notice of them, and continue to trim them away wherever possible.

What’s your most recent word nemesis?

JenniFer_Eaton Sparkle__F

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29 responses to “Oh yeah? I mean, No! No yeah! — What’s your “yeah?”

  1. Amity Grays

    “Just” follows me like static cling.

  2. I’m all for removing “just” in most instances. But there’s always an exception, right? 😉 Sometimes, it just works in dialogue.

    In addition to the usual suspects, I have to be careful of “focused” and “refocused.” My characters seem to share traits with glasses, microscopes, and telescopes!

  3. Interesting.
    Mine doesn’t seem to be a word though, it’s a phrase; ‘fought the urge to…’
    Working through my novella I found it over and over and over and I nearly cried. How the hell did I get so lazy?! o.O

    Ah well. That’s why editing is great; I can catch that stuff and fix it before I embarrass myself.

  4. It’s some form of either “look” or “nod.” They’re everwhere!

  5. I like it. Yeah is definitely a word I used too much – yeah?
    Sorry, couldn’t resist.
    Lynn 😀

  6. Had to chortle! Heh, heh, heh … my nemesis, as always, ‘that’. Grrrrrrr

  7. I know before I even look that I will have far too many because it’s one of the words I notice myself using and do change it at times. Thanks Jennifer – another timely reminder.

  8. That. When I use the word “that,” the sentence tends to be less muscular, more awkward. And I’ve been removing lots of “ing phrases” and replacing them with action that propels the reader forward.

  9. Just. Oh. Little. Sigh. Like. Those little words can just stick in the brain like, Oh, velcro and sneak out through the keyboard when the writer isn’t looking. Sigh.

  10. “just”. It’s killing my manuscript, but like you, mine has teens yacking all over the place. Everytime they try to explain anything it’s always “I just…” or “It’s just…” Ugh. I’ve cut out quite a few but it really is one of those words that ‘just’ keeps popping up in teen dialogue!.

    • Yes! The problem is that “just” is very realistic, but it reads poorly. I’ve fond that a sprinkling works well… Give it the “flavor” like more are there without being an annoyance to the reader

  11. Cocked. People were cocking their heads, cocking a leg, cocking a look…*sigh*

  12. Just. Just is my all time evil word and I can’t stop using it!