# How to avoid repetition of phrases and words, and how to ensure work is grammatically sound?

^ was my first question.
I am 10 chapters into editing the book and I'm finding myself a loss of words to describe certain events and situations.

The book is spiritual in nature and most chapters have vivid descriptions of miracles that an individual has experienced. Miracles are a recurring theme in all the chapters, I still have 92 more chapters to re write.

I'm finding myself repeating these set of words:
Blessed, miraculous, good fortune, fortuitous, lucky , fortunate, chance.

Or: how to go about describing a scene that has a landscape filled with snow?

• covered in a blanket of snow
• vast expanses of land glistening with thick layers of virgin snow
• sheets of snow
• etc etc etc

I am strictly against repetition and I am taking a break to cool off and recover from the block.

Is there any good bank/compilation of adjective phrases that describe extraordinary events? Currently I'm looking at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18362

Also is there any book on grammar the members would recommend, so that I can rely on that book for sanity checks? MS Word is misleading me, wrongly correcting sentences which I know are right, and that is driving me insane.

I read a lot of books to stay up to date.
What is a good way to maintain expand my written vocabulary and ensure that the quality of translation is maintained through all the 100+ chapters and that it doesn't deteriorate?

I want the reader to have a good reading experience and I don't want them to get tired of reading the book.

• I don't understand the "I read a lot of books to stay up to date" part. Lots of books are still largely read, and still recommended, even 10 years later. – Sweet_Cherry Jan 11 '18 at 23:45
• What I intended by that was In the efforts to expand my vocabulary and learn from the different styles of writing I try to read as many books as possible. – kRazzy R Jan 12 '18 at 0:43
• Shopping questions asking for recommendations for books are off-topic, so I won't answer that part. Also, you should try to ask one question per post to help others find relevant questions in our database and not a conglomerate of three or four different questions. The general advice to expand your vocabulary is to read as much as you can from different authors. See also my answer to How are different writing styles/voices possible? – Secespitus Jan 12 '18 at 8:42
• If you've tried using a thesaurus and style guide, maybe you'd edit your question to say why those don't work for you. – Ken Mohnkern Jan 12 '18 at 15:00

A good thesaurus might help avoid repetition.

And for grammar, pick up a copy of the AP Style Guide or Chicago Manual of Style. Or another style guide, if neither of them is appropriate in your area.

### Repetition is not inherently bad

Yes, using the same word over and over again is not a good thing, but repeating a word every once in a while can be a good thing. You might want to repeat certain words or phrases to emphasize their importance and show how certain characters have a certain style. This can help the reader to easily distinguish characters. For example:

• Mary always talks about "a blanket of snow"
• Chris like to use long, colorful descriptions like "vast expanses of land glistening with thick layers of virgin snow"
• Donny is straight-forward: "sheets of snow"
• Jenny jumps from expression to expression, depending on who she is talking to or who has talked to her

It's normal to have "favourite" words or phrases that you regularly use. Our active vocabulary is quite small compared with our passive vocabulary and very small compared with the complete vocabulary of the language we are speaking.

### How to avoid repetition if you identified that you are repeating stuff too often

If you are repeating certain words or phrases too often or out-of-character you may want to take some time off and look at it later. It's enough to just let the first chapter sit while you are writing on other chapters, but it would be even better to for example write a little short story with a different topic. A few days later you will read the text again and realize which parts sound good and which sound not-so-good.

Then you can go into the details: what is it that is not sounding good enough? You will easily identify it after reading it a second or maybe third time. Just be careful not to write a chapter and immediately re-read it again - you will be blind for the little details and unconciously skip past the stuff that you are trying to identify.