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Winter 2008 Volume 4 Issue 1

The Write Stuff

Winter 2008  Volume 4 Issue 1

The “$15 Word”: Keep It To Yourself

The English language is filled with thousands of wonderful words, and most of us probably are familiar with just a fraction of them. Just page through any encyclopedia volume, and you’ll realize how much you don’t know.

Those who have higher-than-normal vocabularies often feel the need to show off their “word intelligence”…and there’s no place for that outside academia. In journalism school, you’re taught to write to a 6th grade level; that may seem regrettable, but simpler is always better, even in business. It never pays to write to impress, because the result will likely be turning off readers.

Consider the following sets of words, which basically mean the same thing. You’ll get your message across by using the words on the left of the colon, but if you use those to the right, you might miss the mark with many readers.

  • thought:cogitation
  • bland:vapid
  • loving:amative
  • stubborn: intractable
  • censor: expurgate
  • unpleasant: bilious
  • reasoning: ratiocination
  • expression: locution

I could go on and on (or drone on, if I chose not to follow my own advice), but I think you get the idea. You don’t want your readers to need a dictionary to get through the things you write…you want them to be absorbing your message.

Happy New Year! As always, I’m available to assist you with writing and editing projects. Call me at 619-291-4645 to discuss your needs.

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