Choosing the Perfect Words

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In this world of texting, Twitter, and Facebook, it is more important than ever to watch our words, making sure we aren’t using offensive language or words that can be misinterpreted.

For writers, it is important to choose our words carefully because—even though they may be synonyms—an ever so slight variation in meaning can change the impact on and interpretation by the reader.

That is why a Thesaurus is on my desk at all times. It helps me choose the exact words to represent feelings, intentions, descriptions and so on. These words also make fine distinctions between meanings—and what you do, or do not, want to portray.

Here’s a recent example. My word choices for the concept of “getting used to” were:

Succumb (to)

Tolerate

Embrace

Acquiesce

I found that tolerate, embrace, and acquiesce meant “to accept,” whereas  succumb did not.

Tolerate and embrace meant to support.

Embrace meant to welcome.

But, acquiesce and tolerate meant to “put up with.”

Succumb meant to surrender or die from.

So, these words, although similar enough, could be placed in order on a continuum, from less to more positive:

SUCCUMB>ACQUIESCE and TOLERATE>EMBRACE

Once I read back my paragraph in light of the intended meaning, I was able to easily choose the perfect word.

It took a little work, but it was worth it.

You might say I embraced the process!

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