Well, I finally managed to put pen to paper and start writing my first couple paragraphs. I have an issue though. I noticed that the word "the" comes up often. Well actually it was pointed out to me by someone I asked to read it really quick. I did a word count through this site and noticed that in the 2 paragraphs I have written out so far, the word "the" appears 21 times. I am not sure though how I would re-write or get rid of it. What is causing me to repeat the word "The" often or what does someone do to fix repetitive words you can't use a synonym for?

  • 7
    Mate, relax. You've hardly begun, let the 'thes' sort themselves out as you find your own writing style. Would you run two steps and then ask a friend to analyse your gait? Make two brush strokes and ask a passing stranger if it's good art? What you have here isn't a problem with 'the', it's your insecurities finding a way to tie your shoe laces together. Stop fretting, don't put people on the spot by asking for opinions on something that barely exists. youtu.be/oTz93Y-qeq0
    – Spagirl
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


I am going to paste the first paragraph of "A Farewell To Arms". I'd like you to count how many times he used the word "and".

In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains. In the bed of the river there were pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun, and the water was clear and swiftly moving and blue in the channels. Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees. The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.

Now, as you can see, Hemingway TOTALLY over-used "and" so his writing must be bad, right? "The" is the same thing. It is a connector. What you want to do is get a rhythm going, and if "the" is your drum beat that makes the rhythm work, use the heck out of it! What counts is not how many times a computer program calculates that you use word X or word Y, but HOW YOU MAKE YOUR READER FEEL!

  • 1
    While I appreciate the other answers, I think this best hits the topic on hand. Ironically enough, the word "the" is actually used more so than "and" at 24 - 15. As someone who is not sure of their writing and doing this mostly because my therapist thinks it would really help me, when someone (who is really close to me) points out a repetitive tendency like that, it kind of put a halt to my flow. I do see now though that maybe it isn't anything to be worried about at all.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 17:01

oh mercy, "the" is invisible. Stop fretting so much. Write your story. Write it with repeated words, with TK placeholders everywhere, wif badly grammar, with too much emphasis, with lots of... ellipses... with CAPS EVEN!!

But write. Just write. Edit later.

  • I hope so cause when I go back and read it, all i see are the word "the" and it's all i seem to be able to focus on right now... which may or may not be cool considering the source of who pointed it out... they should know it woulda caused me to hang up.
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 21:22
  • 4
    @ggiaquin - you see it because you're looking for it. It's like when someone says to try not thinking about something
    – user18397
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 22:34
  • But in all seriousness, if I had wrote more than 2 paragraphs of content and found that I use "the" a lot in my writing would that still be okay or what would be ways to get around over using it? Or is this really not an issue even if it was mentioned a lot?
    – ggiaquin16
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 23:15
  • 3
    +1 simple for the fact that you never used 'the' in your answer. But the OP is right; I agree he should write more, then critique, but his question was more about how to fix the problem, not when to. Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 23:38
  • 1
    @ThomasMyron I really think he fixes his problem by writing more and worrying about excess 'the's at a point when he has more than two paragraphs to his name. It's perfectly likely that the problem, if real, will have resolved itself as his writing becomes more practised and fluent.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 0:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.