Find another word

Many years ago, my English teacher strove to instil in his class the beauty of words. He encouraged us to find and use words that we hadn’t heard before; words we had to look up in the dictionary. He would employ his red pen to great effect if any of us dared to use a lacklustre word such as nice. ‘Find another word!’ he would storm. ‘Find a better word. There’s plenty to choose from, use your imagination.’

Stephen King has something else to say on the subject:  ‘One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.’

What they are both getting at is that there’s nothing wrong with short words, as long as they’re the best, most appropriate words for the occasion. Rather than use adjectives and adverbs, chose stronger verbs to reveal, to describe and to explain.

 

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