Use the Best Word Every Time


Welcome to the wonderful world of words.

As writers we are accountable for every word we write and use in our articles, story or manuscripts. Words can be powerful. It can change the way things are done, correct mistakes, build bridges, educate, inform, or simply amuse.

The written word is a vehicle for self-expression. Every writer has a story to tell, a truth to uphold, or a message to convey. Words can open a window to see new ideas. It can also work to promote a product or a service – practically everything which human beings need for their survival, leisure, or interests.

Words are territorial. Every culture has its own set of words to convey their interpretation of the world, their shared meanings and feelings. So does every profession. Jargons are exclusive, understood only by among those who speak the same language. To grapple with the meaning of words, we need to place them in their proper context. Why were they used in this particular paragraph or line? What was the context for using this word or phrase?

Words are materials. They can be used to build a story, a poem or a copy. Thus, to create a good story or a good copy, use only the best words. Author Jan Venolia wrote, “By making the reader’s job easier, you [the writer] show respect.” I totally agree. Clutters are best cut. This is not only the job for the editor, but for the writer as well. I normally spend more than 75% of my writing time, re-writing what I have written. Although “what is good language” is being contested and debated, I do agree that we need to conform to standards. I hope I will not be mistaken for promoting “grammarian fascism” or being a “grammar fascist” as some English journalists call people who are stickler to grammar rules. I am not an English language major myself, but I have studied and continues to study the language. Contrary to what others perceive, I believe that editors are the writer’s best friend. We cannot be perfect all the time, hence, a good edit is always appreciated.

Words are vehicles. Have you ever felt like you were riding a roller coaster when immersed in a Tom Clancy novel? Or seduced by the words of Robert Browning? This is the power of words. It can conjure a myriad of images without the reader actually seeing them. The writer’s ability to make us laugh, feel sad, thrilled or angry is embedded in how cleverly words are played, stringed and crafted to form classic lines or dialogues. Even in the era of e-commerce, words play an important role in selling a product or promoting a lifestyle associated with it. For example, when you sell green tea, you are promoting a healthy lifestyle by motivating the consumer to drink this beverage. Two words – green and tea, if used as one idea sans the conjunction conjures an image of the healthy drink.

The writer then is advised to practice good writing. The more we polish our work, the more it will shine to attract readers. Use the best words every time.

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