Good writing is precise and distinctive. Finding the right verb or adjective can turn an uninspired sentence into one that is evocative, creating an image that can linger in people’s minds for a long time to come.
Technically, there are no synonyms—every word has its own distinct meaning, but most of us don’t take this so literally. As writers, we don’t like to repeat the same words in a sentence, so we substitute words that are as similar in meaning as possible.
- When trying to find a word substitute, open up your Thesaurus and identify the one word that most clearly approximates the word you’re using.
- Beware of stringing together a list of adjectives to describe a noun, as it may dilute and obfuscate the meaning of the word, even creating contradictions.
- When it comes to word selection and sentence structure, simpler is better. Don’t let your message get lost in the confusion of a sentence that never seems to end.
- Use strong words that impact the senses—you want people to get an immediate sensory impact.
- Don’t say “endeavored to discover” when you could say “tried to find out”. “He sprinted” isn’t necessarily better than “he ran.” But “she feasted on chocolate” is much stronger than “she ate chocolate”. We all know that feasting is infinitely more pleasurable than just sitting down to eat.
The bottom line? Easy. It’s all about communication. Make it easy to read and understand and people will follow you.
Need help creating clearer communications? Contact Top of Mind Marketing. We’re writers and digital media experts.