However, as peppered as my speech patterns are with non-standard English, I try not to bring my own personal language into the sphere of academic writing. I couldn’t imagine what would go through an English teacher’s mind if I turned in a paper that said, “Yo, Herman Melville’s gynormous book about Moby Dick was super phat, cuz Ishmael will be one of my fave, most coolest protagonist forevs LOL.” Like, automatic F, right?
To help you write better, I compiled a list of 5 words you should avoid in all your papers. I understand the importance if irony, but the irony of using grammar and spelling like “Dey’s awluz at it, sah, en dey do mos’ kill me, dey skyers me so,” even in a paper aboutThe Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (which that quote is directly lifted from) would completely be lost on your professor. So, without further ado:
2. Anyways. This word seems to creep up in our vocabulary in those fugitive moments where we have nothing to say, mostly in situations involving awkward pauses, like “Um… right… so anyways…”. Awkward moments should not be make all the more awkward by bad grammar, so perhaps you should cut the “s” and just use “anyway” (a perfectly acceptable word) or “anyhow” next time. This also applies to the word “anywho,” a less common though still egregiously utlized non-word.
3. Alot. There are few things you can do to an English teacher worse than employing the word “alot” in any written assignment. But I’m sure you’ve already been told this, many times, so hopefully I am just being redundant here.
4. Alright. The term “alright” is heavily contested by people both for and against its existence. Daily Writing Tips advises, “In 1965, The Who told us “The Kids are Alright,” spawning generations of the use of alright in music. Generally, most editors and teachers don’t think “alright” is all right. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to stick with the more widely accepted two-word “all right,” especially in formal academic or professional writing.”
5. Nevermind. I see the word “nevermind” everywhere, even though nevermind is in a Neverland of never-words that are never to be found in any grammarphile’s proper paper-writing lexicon. In the Mirriam-Webster dictionary, “nevermind” is listed as a conjunction. The proper term is “never mind”. Searching through Wikipedia, “never mind” brings up, “Never mind is a command which means “it is not important,” “do not be concerned,” or “I withdraw my previous statement.” If you search for “nevermind,” you don’t get that same meaning. Instead you get linked to a Nirvana album.