That awful word “thing” . . . it’s a vague word.  It has little real meaning.  Well, it has many meanings if you look it up in a dictionary, but they’re all vague and conversational.

A “thing” is, in fact, anything.  Anything detectable by the five senses (hearing, sight, taste, touch, smell).  I’m a thing.  You’re a thing.  Your saucepan is a thing.  My mustard jar is a thing.  We all use “thing” in casual conversation when we can’t quite think of the right word fast enough.

I use “thing” in my handwritten notes, because I write in a casual and abbreviated form.  But in writing journalism, where you have had time to think about it, it’s a poor effort to use a lazy, vague, meaningless, indefinable word like “thing”.

I’m not saying don’t EVER use it.  I’m saying if you are considering using it, consider NOT using it, and 99% of the time you’ll decide on a more appropriate word.  Of course, if you’re quoting someone who says “thing” you have to use it in a direct quote.  But don’t YOU, as a writer, use “thing” . . . PLEASE!?!

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