Be Word(ly) Wise

November 1, 2018
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Be Word(ly) Wise

Choosing the most appropriate words to convey your message is a very important aspect of communication. This is irrespective of whether you are engaged in the process of writing a corporate report or political speech. The fact of the matter is that you select words that are most apt and relevant to the subject in hand which can help you to pitch the key message that you are keen to convey, at the right level for your intended audience. These are words that would convey your message with much clarity and does not have any scope for confusion or distortion.

While preparing your written communication you have to be careful of the words you choose to convey your message. You need to ensure that you not only consider words that sounds best and makes sense to you but, it should also sound best and make sense for your intended audience. Keeping your audience and their expectations in mind will allow you to choose words that are most appropriate.

Common Mistake in Choosing Words:

Many writers, either professional or academic, harbor the wrong notion that their audiences expect them to sound smart. As an outcome, these writers opt to choose words that are heavy and a bit too technical in relation to the context. However, this notion should be dispelled because the objective is not about sounding smart. Rather, it is about conveying the information in a convincing and clear manner. It is correct to assume that when writing academic papers, writers need to follow a preset academic style and as students, you are only commencing lessons on ascribing to that particular academic writing style. Many a time, you might find that while writing academic papers you are using words and grammatical constructions that you never used during your high school years. The hazard it brings is that if you knowingly venture to sound smart with your writing by using heavy words and structures that are not common to you, you might end up writing sentences that your audience cannot comprehend.

With this article we present you with valuable tips to choose the right words.

  1. Choose Common Words:
  2. While it is a fact that the English language comprises of a large and diverse vocabulary, only a minor fraction of that vocabulary is used in daily life. A measly 3000 words are what is being commonly used in 75% of communication. These words are basic words that are used day-to-day and would include words such as; bad, remember, drink, short. These are some examples of commonly used words with which people are very used to. The trick is to use such common words instead of using heavy, ornamental words which your audience can easily understand.

  1. Choose Formal, Informal and Neutral Words:
  2. The English language is also included with rich synonyms for several words. Nonetheless, more often than not, synonyms may not necessarily have the same meaning. Such synonyms are used within diverse writing styles where some are colloquial, while others formal. For instance, there are several dozens of words to convey the idea ‘to steal’, but there are several variations to it. To purview three of them; while ‘steal’ happens to be a neutral word which is neither formal nor informal. At the same time, ‘purloin’ is certainly formal whereas, ‘to nick’ is informal for sure. You will not find sentences formed using informal words like ‘nick’ within newspapers. On the other hand, it is recommended that when you are engaged in informative writing which is straightforward, it would be wise to strictly use neutral words.

  1. Refrain from using Clichés or Buzzwords:
  2. Clichés are words and phrases that are so vaguely and frequently used that it tends to lose its original impact. For instance, phrases like ‘as simple as that’, ‘population explosion’, ‘matter of fact’, ‘global warming’. Buzzwords on the other hand are considered as those phrase or words which usually involve jargons that are deemed to be fashionable within certain specific settings and as an outcome is abused and might also sound pointless. For instance; what do you actually mean when you say that you have adopted a ‘holistic approach’? Buzzwords and clichés have the propensity to not only distract readers but it can also be irritating in the sense that it would make reader question its validity.

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