Pet Peeves: Syllable Fillers

            When writing lyrics, you are forever bound rhythmically by the music, and therefore syllabically by the rhythms of that music. This is a heavy burden for any lyricist, but you must fervently resist the impulse to arbitrarily insert extra words into a sentence in order to fill your syllable quota. Too often have I seen the phrase “it’s only just a [noun]” inveigle its way into song lyrics. Let’s leave aside the fact that “only just,” with both words serving as adverbs, is not a phrase in the English language; far more relevant is the fact that it so clearly screams out what it is: a lazy way to inject extra syllables into a line with too few.