List of 99+ Boring Words and Phrases to Avoid in Your Writing

Here is our top list of boring words you can add to your writing.

Boring words and phrases can potentially ruin great content. If you’re a student, writer, or any other professional in the content and writing industry, you must polish your writing skills to sound better, grasp the reader’s attention, and convey your message concisely. While a good grammar checker won’t necessarily flag boring words, use them sparingly. Usually, there are other alternatives to them if you want to make your content unique and interesting.

Even the renowned John Steinbeck advised against ‘boring’ the audience with a certain word choice and said, “If you’re using dialogue, say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.”

A good strategy for successful writing? Adjust your style for the target audience and use relatable and easy-to-understand language rather than clichés and jargon.

Boring Words to Avoid

Boring words are words and phrases that sound outdated, overused, bland, and generic. They often add fluff to content that should be more concise and direct. Let’s look at some examples below.

Boring Words Printable

Boring words printable
All eggs in one basketDime a dozenMake my day 
All fun and gamesDoMeet up with
All talk, no actionDog eat dogMiss out on
All’s fair in love and warDown to earthNow we’re cooking
All’s well that ends wellDraw the lineOn thin ice
An axe to grindEatPossibly 
Armed to the teethEat your heart outPut a sock in it
As Extremely Quickly
As from Eye for an eyeRags to riches
At my wit’s endFilming Really 
Avoid like the plagueFit the billRise and shine 
Back against the wallFootage Say 
Back to square oneFor Seize the day
Badge of honorFree as a bird Separate out
Bad to the boneFresh as daisy Sick as a dog 
Bald-faced liarFurthermore Sleep tight 
Ballpark figureGet Slowly 
Barking up the wrong treeGo for brokeSo 
Beat around the bushHair of the dogSoftly 
Better halfHappy as a clamStay tuned 
Birds and beesHave Tell 
Blast from the pastHear a pin dropThat’s a wrap
Blind as a batHit the hayThink 
Blow off steamHold your horsesTotally 
Bored stiffIn a jamTruly 
Busy as a beeIn the limelight Turn it down a notch
Can of wormsIn this day and age Two peas in a pod 
Cat got your tongueJump the gunVery 
Completely Knock on woodWalk 
Crack of dawnLast hurrah Wild goose chase 
Curiosity killed the catLook Win 
Cute as a buttonLoose cannon You only live once 
Dashboard Loudly  
Definitely Make  

Overused Verbs

We all commonly use these verbs, but they lose their impact within a context when used too frequently. If you are trying to write more poetically, for example, these are often over used words, lacking uniqueness. They are not dull by themselves, but often, the context makes them such, and choosing synonym alternatives will improve your content.

1. Get

She managed to get me so angry I almost lost it!

2. Have

They have a wonderful picnic every weekend in the park.

3. Walk 

Can you walk me home after the club, because the nighttime streets are dangerous?

4. Say 

Say what you will, but employees will always want meaningful work.

5. Tell 

Tell me another story next time you decide to lie.

6. Eat 

It was hard for him to eat his words and apologize!

7. Look 

With just one single look, she managed to scare him.

8. Win 

He will win me over only if he starts buying me flowers daily.

9. Think 

I think I am an excellent choice for the role because I am highly ambitious and professional.

10. Make 

Make use of the books you bought, otherwise, you just wasted your money.

11. Do 

In her spare time, she didn’t just do a lot of activities, but she also napped a lot.

Think creatively, and do a bit of research. You still have a lot of uncommon words to discover and use in your writing, and they don’t need to sound boring or dull.

Dull Adverbs

The dull adverbs are modifiers and don’t entirely give a sentence unique meaning. They sound vague as if they need more explanation and context. Dull adverbs lean more toward the passive side of language than the recommended, active one. But remember, they don’t have to be dull if used correctly.

12. Completely

She completely lost it when she found out that her flight was canceled.

13. Really 

I am really excited about traveling because I rarely do it.

14. Very 

We are very happy to announce that we are expecting a baby. 

15. Extremely 

It is extremely unlikely that they will show up without a gift to the birthday party.

16. Loudly 

The audience screamed loudly at the football players because the players missed every ball on the field.

17. Truly 

I was honest with him, I truly was, but he still didn’t believe me.

18. Definitely 

I am definitely going to need more money to buy a sports car because my current budget doesn’t allow it.

19. Softly 

He softly spoke to me as if he was in love.

20. Slowly 

The dog slowly crept up on the cat.

21. Quickly 

My landlord quickly evicted my neighbors, who were constantly loud.

22. Totally 

Kate wasn’t totally up for the rock climbing that day.

23. Possibly 

He will possibly arrive late tomorrow with another train.

24. Furthermore

The operation is expensive, and furthermore, it is painful too.

You can use adverbs creatively to bring your writing to a new level. Even plain or overused words can get a fresh meaning when phrased unconventionally.

Weak Conjunctions

Weak conjunctions connect words in a sentence but lack a definitive contrast. Their counterparts are the strong, commonly used conjunctions; ‘and,’ ‘but,’ and ‘yet’. With weak conjunctions, the sentence looks too broad and somewhat unclear, outdated, or as if the sentence can be split into two separate, individual clauses. Phrase and combine conjunctions accurately within a context to avoid them sounding weak.

25. For 

She studied all night long, for she wanted to ace the exam.

26. As 

He joined the choir as he wanted to sing in a Church. 

27. So 

She kissed him passionately so he could fall in love with her. 

There’s no need to overthink writing strategies. Refer to our extensive list of superb words and phrases to elevate your writing style and keep your readers returning for more. As a writer or content creator, you must grab your readers’ focus through carefully crafted content.

Unnecessary Prepositions

Unnecessary prepositions are extra words added to sentences, often resulting in redundancy or awkward phrasing. They can clutter the content, obscure the intended meaning, and hinder concise communication.

28 Miss out on 

She regretfully missed out on the opportunity to travel abroad.

29. Meet up with

After years apart, Stefan was thrilled to meet up with his childhood friends.

30. As from

As from next month, the new policy will cover all unemployed people.

31. Separate out

Marija carefully separated out the bottles and cartons from the rest of the waste.

You cannot form a correct and captivating sentence without prepositions, but you can form prepositional phrases to bring creative freshness to your sentences.

Outdated Phrases

Outdated phrases are commonly used (and overused) expressions, familiar to most people, and often fall out of widespread and frequent usage. Often, they are or should be replaced with simpler, shorter phrases that convey a more direct meaning

32. That’s a wrap

The director shouted, “That’s a wrap!” signaling the end of the long work day.

33. Filming

The filming of the movie on that set tired everyone.

34. Footage 

The crew spent hours capturing footage of the breathtaking landscape. 

35. Dashboard

The producer checked the dashboard to monitor the live streaming.

36. Put a sock in it

She screamed at him, “Put a sock in it. Shut up, please!”

37. Turn it down a notch

Ivan politely asked his buddy to “turn it down a notch” as the loud music made him crazy.

38. Hit the hay

After a busy day, Milana was exhausted and ready to hit the hay.

39. Sleep tight

She whispered, “Sleep tight” to her newborn, looking forward to a restful night.

40. Stay tuned

The announcer said, “Stay tuned for a sneak peek into next week’s thrilling episode.”

41. In the limelight 

With newfound fame, Justin Bieber found himself in the limelight, adjusting to his success.

Do you want to sound interesting? You can, and you can choose words that people rarely know without boring them. The English language is incredibly rich if you’re curious enough to dig deep for those gems that grab a reader’s attention.

Clichés and Certain Idioms

These phrases sound all too familiar and refer to concepts, ideas, and expressions that are excessively used, and you’ve probably heard such phrases frequently. They often signify something predictable or stereotypical. Often, they are in short or long-phrase format.

42. You only live once

You only live once, so make the most of every moment.

43. All talk, no action

He’s all talk, no action, and never follows his promises.

44. An axe to grind

She has an axe to grind with her colleague over the fight they had,

45. At my wit’s end

I’m at my wit’s end trying to solve this complicated puzzle.

46. Bald-faced liar

He’s a bald-faced liar, deceiving everyone with his false stories.

47. Better half

My wife is my better half, always supporting and understanding me.

48. Blow off steam

Sometimes, you need to blow off steam with sports to relieve stress.

49. Bored stiff

I was bored stiff during the failed dinner date with that guy.

50. Draw the line

I had to draw the line when my ex crossed the boundaries of healthy and acceptable behavior.

51. Fit the bill

Bill Gates’ qualifications fit the bill perfectly for the role of CEO.

52. Happy as a clam

Despite the tragic challenges, she remained happy as a clam.

53. Hear a pin drop

The room was so somber and quiet you could hear a pin drop.

54. Last hurrah

His last hurrah of the tough work day was when he threw the papers in his coworker’s face.

55. Sick as a dog

After having COVID, I still felt sick as a dog for days.

56. In a jam

She was in a jam when her car broke down in nowhere.

57. In this day and age

In this day and age, technology has transformed the way we communicate and connect with others.

58. Jump the gun

He tends to jump the gun without considering all the facts and makes bad decisions.

59. Knock on wood

Whenever he talks about his success, he says, “Knock on wood,” hoping to ward off bad luck.

60. Loose cannon

He’s a loose cannon at the office, always doing something silly and inadequate.

61. Make my day

Please make my day and give me some good news because it’s been tough for me so far.

62. Now we’re cooking

Aha! I managed to hack the database, well, now we’re cooking!

63. On thin ice

Their financial situation was on thin ice, but they managed to turn it around.

64. Rags to riches

Like the singer Drake, we started from the bottom and went from rags to riches.

65. Rise and shine

He woke me up with a “Rise and shine,” but I was still drowsy.

66. Seize the day

You can tell me to seize the day, but I will still procrastinate, no matter what you say. 

67. Two peas in a pod

Jack and Jill were perfect for each other, and they got along like two peas in a pod.

68. Wild goose chase

Pursuing the truth felt like a wild goose chase, but John pushed and investigated even deeper.

69. Hold your horses 

Hey, hold your horses! Let’s have a time out and sit down to talk calmly!

70. Can of worms

It feels like opening a can of worms if I reveal my secrets because it might ruin my reputation.

71. Cat got your tongue

Joshua was silent when I asked him why he lied as if a cat got his tongue.

72. Crack of dawn

They embarked on their journey at the crack of dawn, eager to reach their destination before sunrise.

73. Curiosity killed the cat

He discovered what “curiosity killed the cat” meant when he opened his wife’s diary!

74. Cute as a button

The little girl was incredibly adorable and as cute as a button.

75. Dime a dozen

In the busy market, street performers were a dime a dozen, each trying to stand out in the crowded place.

76. Dog eat dog

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, with merciless competition, and only the strongest survive.

77. Down to earth

Joanna is modest, and we all know her as a down to earth, humble person.

78. Eat your heart out

“Eat your heart out,” he thought as he flaunted his success in front of his doubters.

79. Eye for an eye

Revenge didn’t pay off because we all knew an eye for an eye would leave us all blind.

80. Free as a bird 

I finally felt free as a bird when I and John broke up after years of dating.

81. Go for broke

With nothing to lose, she decided to go for broke, risking it all for a chance at a better life.

82. Hair of the dog

The morning after a drunken night, Martin had the hair of the dog and drank again to sober up!

83. Back against the wall

With his back against the wall, my friend had no choice but to confront the challenges.

84. Back to square one

After the failed experiment, Elon Musk was back to square one.

85. Bad to the bone

He was a punk rebel and truly bad to the bone!

86. Badge of honor 

Receiving the Army Serving Award was a badge of honor, recognizing his outstanding contributions.

87. Ballpark figure

The estimated cost was just a ballpark figure, subject to change based on the project’s requirements.

88. Barking up the wrong tree

I am deaf to negativity, and you bark up the wrong tree if you insult me.

89. Beat around the bush

I insist you tell me the truth directly, but instead, you just beat around the bush.

90. Birds and bees

Teaching her son about the birds and bees became an important conversation as he entered adulthood.

91. Blast from the past

I saw a kid with a Walkman in 2023, and it felt like a blast from the past.

92. Blind as a bat

My glasses are no good anymore, I still am blind as a bat!

93. Busy as a bee

I said that rest is not good if we want to progress in our careers, so I kept myself busy as a bee.

94. All fun and games

It was all fun and games until my kids broke the window with their toys.

95. All eggs in one basket

I always keep a few dollars in my shoes, not just my wallet, because I don’t want to keep all eggs in one basket.

96. All’s fair in love and war

He was stealing from his competitors but justified it with “All’s fair in love and war.”

97. All’s well that ends well

The journey was challenging, but all’s well that ends well, since they reached their destination safely.

98. Armed to the teeth

She had a rugged personality and was always prepared for any situation, fully armed to the teeth.

99. Avoid like the plague

Me and Sara don’t get along, and she avoids me like the plague.

100. Fresh as a daisy 

I slept nicely in Greece with all that seaside air, waking up fresh as a daisy daily!

You can still make your writing sound interesting even if you don’t use the most common idioms. There are plenty of unusual words and phrases to enrich your sentences without sounding generic.

Author

  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.