Writing Tip: Delete most occurrences of the word "some."

 


Why make this change?

In this case I don’t say to remove all occurrences of “some,” but most of them. 

There are times when the use of some makes sense, and adds to the narrative, particularly relating to its meaning of more than one, but not all:

Some of us went to the store.
Some cars are painted red.

Or it can be used for emphasis:

That was some movie.

Although even in these examples, one should consider whether there’s a better way to say it.

Generally, though, it’s another one of those extra words that don’t add anything to the narrative. 

Take my example:

He needed some money.

What does “some” add? Some in this case means an indefinite amount. Does it mean a lot? Does it mean a little? Does it have a meaning different from simply saying, “He needed money?”

I don’t think so. So, why toss in the other word?

What about dialogue? A lot of my rules do not necessarily apply to dialogue, because it’s normal speech. So, you can have a character say, “Let’s go get some beer.” No problem.

But in narrative, why say “They went to the store to buy some beer,” when you could simply leave out the “some,” or make it more specific? “They went to the store to buy a case of beer.”

So, go through and consider each occurrence of “some.” Does removing it change the meaning? If not, why have it? Is there a better way to say it that makes the narrative more compelling? This is what writing is all about.