First of all, I don't believe my question is a duplicate of this question, but tell me if you think it is. (I don't think it's the same, as that question is using one particular example and is asking about word redundancy in a sentence rather than a chapter, and unlike their question, I am asking how to avoid using word redundancy altogether)

So, I am going over a chapter that I have written for my book, and I found multiple instances where I found words that were used 5 or 6 times in different places and contexts in the chapter. All of times it was used, the quality was good and I'm happy with how they fit.

But, I worry that describing multiple things with the same word through my 3,200 worded chapter will seem redundant.

Some of these words that pop up a lot are these:

Dark or Darkness

Night or Nightime

Interrupted or Interjected

Soothed or Calmed

I've already looked at a thesaurus, but I have not found any good substitutes for these words. My question is, is it wrong to describe multiple scenarios with the same words, and if it is, how can I avoid it?

Note: I am not asking for specific substitutes for the words I provided, I am asking if it is wrong to use similar or the same word choice in multiple instances in my chapter, and how I can avoid it. Nothing to do with the word list. (However, you could include possible substitutes to the words as a bonus to my actual question if you wish)

  • Are any of these the theme or subject of the story?
    – Llewellyn
    Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 12:18
  • @Llewellyn No, I am talking about a particular chapter. None of the words are the theme of that chapter - but they play minor roles. For example, the chapter is late at night, which is where dark and night come in. And, there is a heated discussion which is why I have a lot of interruptions and interjected. And, a character is riding a spooked horse which is the reason for the words calming and soothing. Commented Dec 16, 2020 at 16:04

1 Answer 1


You might want to avoid repeating the same words in this order:

Line>>Paragraph>>Same Page>>Consecutive Pages>>same chapter.

So, it's not quite a bad thing to repeat a few words in multiple instances in a chapter, assuming your chapter is long enough, like at least a thousand words.

If you want to avoid them, the best way is obviously to look for synonyms that fit contextually. If you can't find any suitable words, then you can get around it by describing the whole sentence differently so you wouldn't need to use that repeating word. If you can't do either, then get an editor or ask some friend for help, but if you can't do that, too, then just use the same word.

Let's take the word 'Night,' and see how we can convey to our readers that it's nighttime in different ways:

Night has fallen.

The sun slipped down the horizon.

The moon showed herself.

It was dark outside / in the hours of darkness.

When owls hoot and bats come out of their caves...

As you can see, there are infinite ways to avoid using the word 'night.'

Having said that, using some words or phrases repeatedly(consciously or subconsciously) or in a certain fashion is part of one's style. Your characters might use some words repeatedly or whatnot. You can't completely get past that unless you hire an editor with at least a better vocabulary than yours.

Lastly, I wish I could write some synonyms for the words you've listed, but they probably wouldn't help since I don't know what the context is.

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