JUST creeps into all kinds of writing, making it tentative, passive, and dull. If you challenge yourself to search and replace JUST before submitting your final drafts, your readers will thank you! Let's review five JUST-infected sentences to prove this point.
1. I just wanted to say that I love dogs.
JUST isn't the only problem in this sentence. Go ahead and shout from the rooftops: I love dogs!
2. My dog Honey just finished her breakfast.
It would more active and appealing to write this: My dog Honey finished her breakfast and is sniffing around for more food.
3. Marilyn was just about to take a walk when the phone rang.
JUST. PLAIN. BLAH! How about this instead? Marilyn had one foot out the door when the phone rang. Which sentence do you prefer?
4. Dinner is just about ready.
Here, JUST ABOUT could be replaced with almost or nearly. For clarity, however, I vote for Dinner will be ready in 5 minutes.
5. Juanita felt just about ready to explode.
There are more descriptive ways you could write that sentence. Two options include Juanita's anger simmered, ready to bubble over at any moment or the straightforward and bold choice, Juanita exploded.
Whether your writing style is descriptive, active, straightforward, or meandering, don't let JUST infect your essays, stories, or speeches!
That's a wrap for today's spoonful. Until next Sunday, be safe, be happy, be creative, and be kind.
Laura Fineberg Cooper