We all have them. One pal overuses 'Absolutely!'. Another repeatedly describes things as 'poignant' instead of 'pertinent'. Our guide on a recent holiday used the phrase 'Ladies and Gentlemen' so often that it became teeth-grindingly irritating. (After he left the group, it became the biggest joke of the week, so there was a silver lining.)
I think we all have words and phrases we overuse when we write - the trick is to become aware of them, so that we can root them out. A former mentor pointed out that I used the word 'little' far too often. More recently, I was severely taken to task for continually inserting the word 'though' as a qualifier.
There's an amusing way of spotting such irritants. It's called Wordle (http://www.wordle.net/) Simply copy your entire manuscript into the relevant dialogue box and press a button and - hey presto! - the most commonly occurring words are captured, in the exact proportion they are used, in a graphic word cloud form.
Then you can play with the result, changing the font, colour and patterns to suit yourself.
It's all right. I finally remembered that I call him, variously, Jonathan, Jon and Jonno, so each name will be a third of the size.
But the important point is that 'little' and 'though' are so insignificant that they barely feature. Phew! Then again, 'something' is worryingly large - I might have to take a look at that.
What words do you find you have to try to avoid when you're writing?