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February 2014 Volume 10 Issue 2

The Write Stuff

February 2014  Volume 10 Issue 2

Word Choice = Copy Tone

 

Writing would be quite a bit simpler if you had a limited choice of words and there was no overlap in their meaning. However, that’s not the case; you have many word options at your disposal, and the choices you make will certainly set the tone of your copy.

 

The most common tone option is probably formal vs. informal. Here’s a very simplistic example:

 

Formal: We have not investigated the full gamut of possibilities.

Informal: We haven’t investigated all possibilities.

 

Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, it seems appropriate to focus on how to set a warm tone with your writing. Here’s some advice from my friend Sarita Maybin, communication speaker/author, on using words that are emotional rather than intellectual:

 

Choose the words to the left to engage others with a more approachable/warm style. Use the intellectual words to the right for more formal occasions.

 

speed up vs. accelerate

help vs. aid

expect vs. anticipate

good for vs. beneficial

worried vs. concerned

hurt vs. damage/harm

explain vs. disclose

hurry vs. hasten

I’m sorry vs. I regret

find out vs. learn

 

Sarita is based in San Diego but she speaks all over the world. Her presentations are energetic and full of actionable content. Find out more at saritamaybin.com.

 

It’s Tricky

English is full of words that pose issues for writers and readers. Take “every day” and “everyday.” The former is an adjective plus a noun that means “each day,” while the latter is an adjective meaning “ordinary” or “normal.” Thus, you can go to work every day and conduct your everyday duties. Another troublesome word pair is “lead” and “led.” Lead (when it rhymes with bead) can be an adjective, noun or verb, so all three of these sentences are correct: You’re the lead designer. You’ve got the lead. Lead the team to success. Led is the past tense of lead, e.g., you led your team to victory. For you sticklers, when lead rhymes with bed, it refers to a metallic element.

 

Kudos to Kathryn

Congratulations to Kathryn Cloward and her team for earning 2014 Family Choice Awards for the Kathryn the Grape series, three books and a music CD. The honors reflect that Kathryn the Grape Just Like Magic, Kathryn the Grape’s Colorful Adventure, Kathryn the Grape’s Piece of Love and Believe–Kathryn the Grape Songs for Kids of All Ages are “extraordinary products that make a positive difference in the lives of our families,” according to Family Choice. Learn more about this messenger of love at kathrynthegrape.com.

 

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