As writers we should stop using “as”

Working on edits the other day and my own essay and something about the word “as” really struck a cord with me. As implies and makes assumptions.  It generalizes a group or individual.

Take for example the title of this post. It starts with “as writers”. It assumes to include and be a voice for all writers, for all time, starting now, as soon as you read the words. It does not exclude any type of writer or genre – all writers should do this, whatever point this post is trying to make. If you are a writer, you do not have much choice, or a chance to respond.

“As” can also assume and impose a limitation on one subject, which may not be intentional, and potentially lead the reader down the wrong path.

Additional examples specific to poetry or fiction:

  1. I fell as the leaves do.
  2. I went to the party as superman.
  3. I ran as fast as I could.
  4. The lakes and glaciers stretched as far as I could see.
  5. As I waited for you, it rained.
  6. As humans, we are failing.

If the writer desires the reader to make the assumption or limitation “as” is implying, the context and story must support and encourage the statement, and never contradict. A way to avoid any confusion or leading the reader astray, is to be verbose and state exactly the conditions of the assumption, the properties one subject is taking from another. If there is a limitation, give the reader a little more information. If two subjects, objects, or conditions are really the same, then “as” is perfect.




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