Choose Your Words Carefully

Nov 10


 

Unnecessary Words

We often read that blog posts should be brief and that readers like to read posts quickly. When writing your post, make sure that you’re not filling it with words that don’t need to be there.

Words to avoid: frankly, actually, honestly, truthfully, really, quite, so, very, somewhat, seems, utterly, practically, basically, probably, appears, very, definitely, extremely and rather.

You might want to omit phrases like I think, kind of, sort of, in my opinion, and needless to say.

Some of these words and phrases are fine if your tone is casual rather than businesslike. Think about your audience and the purpose of your blog to decide what style is appropriate. However, even personal blogs written like diary entries can benefit from a clean, uncluttered writing style.

Redundant Phrases

In addition to unnecessary words, bloggers often use two words that say the same thing. The following list of substitutions from Editing and Writing Services shows that one word is often better than two.

  • Absolutely essential  (essential)
  • Added bonus  (bonus)
  • Both of them  (both)
  • Crystal clear  (clear)
  • End result  (result)
  • Exact same  (exact or same)
  • Fewer in number  (fewer)
  • Final outcome  (outcome)
  • Free giveaway or free gift  (giveaway or gift)
  • Inasmuch as  (since, because)
  • Past history (history)
  • Point in time  (point, time or then)
  • There is no doubt that  (clearly)
  • Until such time as  (until)
  • 12 midnight  (midnight)
  • 12 noon  (noon)


Words with Emotional Meaning

Now that we’ve gone over the words you can do without, it’s time to think about the emotional associations or connotations of your words. Words can have positive, neutral or negative connotations.

Which word says what you really mean: ambitious or greedy, confident or arrogant, smiled or smirked, thrifty or cheap?

These words all refer to a young person, but have very different emotional associations: youngster, baby, child, tot, kid, little one, small fry, brat, juvenile, minor

Bertrand Russell gave the following examples of different connotative meanings:

 

I am sparkling.

You are unusually talkative.

He is a drunk.

 

I am a creative writer.

You have a journalistic flair.

He is a prosperous hack.

 

I daydream.

You are an escapist.

He ought to see a psychiatrist.

 

In Conclusion

Bertrand Russell once said, “Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness.” As your writing gets more precise, you’ll feel more confidence that you’re saying what you mean to say. Your readers will also get more pleasure and value from your blog posts when you take the time to choose your words carefully.

 

 

Sources:

University of North Carolina: The Writing Center.

Grammar.about.com

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language by David Crystal


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