You know what’s bad? Overusing plain, simple, nonexpressive vocabulary when there is an abundance of rich, expressive alternatives scattered across the English language. That’s not just bad. It’s shameful, nonsensical, and unskillful.
Sure, “bad” will get the point across, but there are so many other words that add depth and nuance. If you use “bad,” you’re settling for a plain, shallow description of the events. When you’re writing prose or anything sophisticated, you can probably find a better alternative.
Keep in mind, though, that “bad” encompasses nearly anything negative. The words in this list cannot always be used interchangeably. Your senile grandmother is not “stupid,” she’s “in poor health.” The sushi that’s been sitting in the fridge for three weeks is not “immoral,” it’s “off-color” and “off-putting.” The pushy salesman who convinced you to purchase an overpriced used car that broke down two weeks later is not “poor” (thanks to you), he’s “dishonest” and, unlike the sushi, “immoral.”
So, use these words appropriately. The right one for your situation is there—you just need to find it. Here are 730 expressive alternatives to “bad.”
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