One of my favorite tools in Word ever (on a mac) is Command F ( I believe it's ctrl F on a PC, but you're welcome to correct me).
This is the "find" button. (I've used this several times when I need to change a character's name)
I thought I'd share some of the things I hit Command F for -
I also do a search for is/was in all forms.
Then (one at a time) I highlight them.
It's a sad, sad thing when a page or a paragraph lights up like a Christmas Tree.
I really believe that these are the subtle things that makes our manuscript look polished (aside from grammar, of course). Even after having three or four people read my MS, I still often find words that are completely over-used. No one smiles all the time, at everything, and this is still something I struggle with. But at least I'm aware.
Recognizing the problem is the first step to recovery, right? ;D
But these are my favorites, the words I overuse, and can't let go.
What are yours??
Also, a very happy announcement on my blog today... having to do with manuscripts and agents...