The use of words is something dear to all our hearts as writers. They are, after all, our tools of the trade and we should wield them with all the care taken by an artisan when using a chisel.

I once came across a web page published by the Now York Times, saying that the titles of every book published in English in and around the 19th Century — 1,681,161 of them - were electronically scoured by American researchers for key words and phrases that might offer insight into the minds of the Victorians.

The article reckoned that among words cropping up regularly were ‘God’, ‘love’, ‘work’, ‘science’ and ‘industrial’.

Makes you wonder which words we 21st Century writers use a lot or maybe too often. Brexit perhaps? Or ‘digital?

I do know that there are some words I used to use too often in my writing beforte I cut back on them – ‘murmured’ and ‘chuckled’ to name but two - and my favourite poet Barry MacSweeney, with whom I used to work on an evening newspaper, had a thing about the word ‘argent’.

And I know another writer who slipped the word ‘obsidian’ into every piece she ever produced.

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