Happy Monday afternoon everybody! I hope your week is off to a great start! <3 It’s warm and sunny here today which certainly makes Monday easier to get through 😀
Today I want to talk about the word “just”.
I remember reading an article somewhere in the past year that was talking about writing, and the words that writers should remove from their writing vocabulary.
Just was one of those words. I remember at the time thinking, they are right. Just (as an adverb) is rarely necessary, every sentence I could think of that used the word just, worked just as well without it. Since then I’ve tried to be careful about my use of the word in my writing, and have found myself deleting it more that I would have thought.
Even though I’ve tried my best to delete the word from my written word I still say it frequently when I speak, and that is something I want to change.
Just can be used as an adjective or an adverb. For the purpose of this post I’m speaking only about “just” as an adverb. In case you have tossed your grammar definitions out of the window, and adverb is is a word that changes or qualifies the meaning of a verb, adjective, another adverb etc.
In this context, “Just” can mean:
- exactly ( ex. This is just why I don’t trust you!)
- a moment before (ex. She arrived just in time for the movie to begin.)
- barely (ex. He hit the tennis ball just out of bounds.)
- actually; really (ex. It is just a beautiful day!)
- only or merely (ex. I can do 30 push-ups but they are just from my knees.)
It’s the best word I think think of to use to diminish your accomplishments. I do it all of the time. On Saturday after my class we were talking about upcoming classes and someone asked if there would be a class on the long weekend in May. I said that there would be, even though I should be taking the day off because I’m running in the Bluenose Marathon the next morning. Someone asked me what distance I was running, I replied, “Just the 10k.”
Sure, the 10K is one of the shorter distances in that race (you can choose 5K, 10K, 1/2 or Full Marathon), but it’s still 10 flipping kilometres.
I always downgrade my running, like I need to issue a disclaimer or something. Last year I said something about the Valley Harvest Marathon after I had run and someone said, “Wow! You ran in it?” I replied that yes I had, but just the 5k.”
Just. Like running a 5K in under 30 minutes is something that everyone can do. Like it’s sure a terrible accomplishment that I have to downgrade myself.
It’s true, I’m not a fast runner, but when I can only run once maybe twice a week 4 or 5 months of the year I can hardly expect to be as fast as my friends who run 3 or 4 times/week all year round.
FYI- I had just eaten a green candy, my tongue isn’t usually that colour 😉
It’s true, I tend to stick to shorter distance races, but that is mostly because I can run them without putting in hours and hours of training runs to prepare. Those shorter races are still longer than the races most people will run – because most people won’t run any.
There is another place where I tend to “just” it up.
“Are you a personal trainer?” “No, I’m just a fitness instructor.”
“You are a writer?” “No, I am just blogger”
“Do you contribute anything positive to society?” “No, I mostly just belittle my career and accomplishments.”
Okay, so that last one didn’t really happen, but every time I throw the word “just” in there that’s what I’m doing. And I KNOW I’m not alone. I know many of you do it too! So let’s make a promise to ourselves right now, that we will make a conscious effort to ditch the just and take pride in our accomplishments.
Yes, I’m running in the Bluenose Marathon. No, I’m not running the longest distance but I am running all the same.
Yes, in fact I AM a writer. I may not have any published books but I get paid to write, therefore (good or bad) I am a writer.
No I’m not a personal trainer, but that is my choice. I prefer teaching in a group setting, there is nothing wrong with that.
Stop belittling yourself and the things you do, ditch “just”.