10 DIY EDITING TIPS for a Smoothly Written Ride! Tip #9—Slang

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author-Speaker-Publishing Coach
when or when not to use slang in writing and how to eidt


In your writing, avoid the use of slang or profanity. This is another situation where live and in-person slang or profanity has its time and place. However, writing is a more formal and public venue, so in general, best behavioral practices are expected.

Some examples of slang you should avoid are: freaked me out, awesome, “like,” cool, wow, and other types of language, unless you quote someone, or this language belongs to a character in fiction.

Slang includes the use of expressions, idioms, and clichés. These might be confusing to your readers, depending on their age group, or culture. Books are often translated into different languages and the slang does not translate anyway. Keep your writing free from slang, unless you are including slang in the dialogue. Using slang with your own voice is not appropriate. Remove such words as:

Freaked me out, freaked out, pigged-out, awesome, cool, hang out, chill, chilled out, babe, dude, dawg, had a blast, dumped, ex, geek, hooked, looker, sick (as in unbelievable), epic, (unless it really is epic), ripped, (as in intoxicated or muscular), dunno (in place of “I don’t’ know), loser, rip off.

10 DIY Self-Editing Tips for a Smoothly Written Ride by Deborah S. Nelson

Some clichés or idioms might be:

  • The best of both worlds
  • Once in a blue moon
  • When pigs fly
  • To cost an arm and a leg
  • A piece of cake
  • Let the cat out of the bag
  • To feel under the weather 
  • See eye to eye
  • To cut corners
  • To add insult to injury
  • To kill two birds with one stone
  • At the end of the day
  • To be honest
  • Let’s face it
  • Until the cows come home
  • Avoid like the plague
  • Take the bull by the horns

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