How Many Times Did I Use That Word?

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Confession time. I can use the same word too many times in a story. I call them pet words, and they can vary from one story to another. It seems my mind forgets the times I’ve already used the same word. Oh, the frustration when I discover the flaw. This leads me to explore editing tools to help writers like me eliminate redundancy.

A writer is supposed to be in the word business. Finding the perfect word is part of the thrill for the writer and a joy to the reader. It’s an adventure . . . until I discover a character refers to the same storehouse of words repeatedly. 

I found an indispensable tool to aid writers overcome the dreaded problem of, “How many times did I use that word?” And it’s free!

It’s called the Word Frequency Counter

I’m sure you will appreciate it as much as I do. To give you an example, I’ve typed a ridiculous paragraph below to show the site’s usefulness. 

My heart leaped from my chest every moment we were together. My heart refused to stop pounding in my chest, and I feared he might hear it when we were together. Oh, heart, don’t betray me. Stay in my chest when we are together. Let him not hear or feel my heart clamoring for more of his time. (58 words)

  1. Copy/Paste the paragraph above into the box on this page Word Frequency Counter where it says “Paste your text”.
  2. Now hit “submit.” 
  3. Many words are used only once, and some words we expect to use more often. 
  4. Now look at a few overused ones:

6 – my

4 – heart

3 – together

3 – chest

Oh my! So many overused words in such a short paragraph.

Here’s another tip: The site can also check for overuse of phrases. Here’s a direct link to the Phrase Frequency Counter. 

Now you try. Copy and paste some of your work into the Word Frequency Counter and see what you find. How did the tool help your writing?