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Monday, January 29, 2024


Image: WikiCommons.

These Words Make it Obvious That Your Text is Written By AI 

GUEST BLOG / By James Presbitero, Writer, from Medium via Practice in Public—The following 7 words in this article are painfully obvious. They make me cringe. They will make your reader cringe. 

 Have you ever read an article that made you say “This was made by AI”? 

We all have. 

Most of us are avid readers. We all read multiple articles a day and several books a month. Most of us write thousands of words every day. We all know what “human writing” sounds like. 

But until recently, I still couldn’t put a finger on it. 

Last November, I (photo, left) got a job as a Content Writer and Editor. Since then, I‘ve written and edited 12 to 20 articles every week. It was through this repetitive, highly systematic, and quite stimulating job responsibility where I noticed consistent giveaways to AI output. 

I learned how ChatGPT sounded to help my writers sound more human. And now I’m going to share these to you. 

Writing with AI 

This post isn’t to dismiss AI. 

We absolutely love AI, and I use it regularly. If you use it, more power to you — but it has to be in a way that feels and sounds human. You can’t be lazy just because of it. Compelling, human articles written with AI tools is high-powered and efficient writing. Articles that look and sound like AI is just trashy. 

That’s why I’m writing this. 

We writers can’t avoid AI, and we shouldn’t — we need to adapt and utilize any tools that the industry gives us and keep raising the standards of our craft. A big part of that is utilizing the efficiency and speed of AI, without compromising on your article’s humanity. 

So if you want to use AI to write your articles, make sure to edit out these words. 

1. Transformative 

Example: “Semantic web methodologies propose a transformative approach by enhancing the depth of search engine understanding.” AI giveaway: This obvious giveaway word overhypes whatever you’re trying to describe and sells it as something that changes the world. Not everything has to be “transformative.” It’s unnecessary and ostentatious. Edit: Remove. Often, removing it won’t change the message whatsoever. But if absolutely needed, change it to something more mundane and simple. 

2. Foster/fostering 

Example: “It establishes a cohesive visual identity, fostering a sense of reliability and professionalism.” AI giveaway: I particularly hate this word. It’s become a catch-all for writers who don’t know exactly what it is they are describing, and it’s so overused and non-descriptive. If I see more than two of these words in an entire article, I flag it. Edit: Change it into something more specific, descriptive, and context-appropriate. Like create, build, forge, nurture, etc. 

3. Tapestry/A tapestry of… 

Example: “Knowledge graphs leverage semantic relationships, transforming data into a rich tapestry of interconnected knowledge.” AI giveaway: ChatGPT uses this so often, and I’ve come to hate it with a passion. Anything connected doesn’t have to be a “tapestry” of anything. Sometimes they are just connected. Sometimes maybe even just related. Edit: Remove or rephrase. It’s a dead giveaway. 

4. This is about … / All about … 

Example: “The Crypto Pro Playbook is all about putting power back into your hands, allowing you to navigate the crypto landscape without unnecessary expenses.” AI giveaway: When you use “this is about …” or “X is all about …” in your article, I automatically assume that: • AI wrote your content, or • You don’t know what you’re talking about. Well-written content doesn’t say that “something is all about something else …”, they are vastly more specific. Edit: Change to something more specific and descriptive. 

5. Think of …as … Example: “Think of influential blogs and forums as your digital mentors.” AI giveaway: There are better ways to signal a metaphor. This specific turn of phrase is a pattern that many AI software repeat. Edit: Be more direct. Don’t tell readers to “think of it as …” They’re reading your work — they’re already thinking. 

6. Like/It’s like … 

Example: “It’s like having a front-row seat to the future of crypto — all from the comfort of your couch.” AI giveaway: Same as above, it’s a highly repetitive and recognizable pattern. Edit: Remove and rephrase your sentence. 

7. Not only … but also … 

Example: “E-commerce businesses leveraging pillar pages not only streamline user navigation but also position themselves as industry leaders” AI giveaway: It’s a highly repetitive and distinguishing pattern. And, it’s unnecessary. Grammarly is always insistent that I change it, and I think any editor will agree. The only times I like to use it is when the two points are: • Somewhat contrary to each other, • Not often linked together, or • Unexpected Edit: If it doesn’t fit any of the criteria above, just change the sentence to say “and.” Simplicity is always best. 

Bonus: Sentence length 

AI is bad at making great sentences. AI outputs tend to have unimpressive paragraph construction, mostly characterized by monotonous sentence length. There’s an easy fix. For more human-sounding content, switch up your sentence length. I like to use what I call the “short — long — short” format. 

For example, the first paragraph of this section 

Final thoughts 

Writing with AI is a very useful thing — and I firmly believe that writers who don’t adopt AI can be easily overtaken by those who do. But just because you’re using AI doesn’t mean you should be lazy. AI is still a long way off from copying a human writer off the bat. If you want to get the same level of quality, you need to be diligent in editing. 

Take out those 7 common dead giveaways of AI content and improve your writing in 2024. 

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