The 1 Phrase That I WISH Authors Would Stop Using!

I have never written a book. I can’t even imagine how hard it ust be for authors to find words to convey to the reader the innermost thoughts and emotions in characters. That being said, there is 1 phrase that I WISH authors would stop using. I cringe every single time I read it and authors use it OFTEN.



“His eyes darkened”

“Darkness spread over his eyes”

“His eyes suddenly went dark”

Like…What does that even MEAN? He intently stared? His eyebrows furrowed? He frowned?

The Oxford Dictionary’s definition of the work “darken” as a verb :


  • 2 Make or become gloomy, angry, or object ‘his mood darkened’
    1. 2.1 no object (of someone’s eyes or expression) show anger or another strong negative emotion.‘his face darkened and he lunged away’
    2. 2.2 with object (of anger or another strong negative emotion) show in (someone’s eyes or expression)‘misery darkened her gaze’

Thanks Oxford. Still a stupid verb.

“His eyes got wide”…Ok so THIS I can understand because it actually is something physical that can happen. But…how does someone’s eyes go DARK?

Eyes suddenly darkening is my #1 most hated phrase in books and for some reason authors use it ALL THE TIME. I notice it each and every time and I hate it so, so much. It takes away from whatever scene I’m reading because all I can think is, “UGH! Not again! Whyyyyy???”

Other examples of things that I wish authors would stop doing can be found HERE and HERE!

Do you agree with me? What is an expression that authors use that you hate? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!



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7 thoughts on “The 1 Phrase That I WISH Authors Would Stop Using!

  1. Ok, I have to say that this NEVER bothered me BEFORE. Now, of course, that you’ve brought it up…I’ll catch every single time it’s used and get frustrated. I just want to thank you heartily for this. As I say this, my eyes are darkening with um…frustration? ROFL


  2. Wait, I legitimately got annoyed with this just yesterday! The main character’s eyes darkened from brown to black and all I could think was “well that’s a genetic impossibility!” While it would be interesting to have someone’s eyes actually change color with a mood, it makes me insane. I can’t believe I read this today after just being frustrated with it!


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