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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/665056
Rated: E · Article · Writing · #665056
Using the right word is necessary for precise, exact writing and imagery
Using the Right Word
by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

Goal: Writers will find ways of tightening and strengthening writing by finding and using appropriate, specific words.

Materials needed:
         Alternatives to “Said”
         Alternatives to “Good” and “Bad”
         Tone Vocabulary

NOTES: In order to create concrete images, whether in prose or in poetry, finding specific words that are appropriate tightens and strengthens the writing. Writers need to avoid general, overused words.

         Writers should also avoid state-of-being verbs as much as possible, using vivid action verbs instead. Many times the writer has to reword and revise, but the result is stronger, tighter writing.

         Although most words on each handout are synonyms, they do not have the exact same meanings. The writer needs to find the specific word that “fits” the way it is being used.

         The Tone Vocabulary lists help the writer find words that match the mood desired. For example, if a poem describes a spring day, the writer wouldn’t want to use words that portray sorrow such as somber or gloomy. Instead he would want to use words such as cheery or hopeful.

         These lists are not nearly complete; they are just examples, giving the writer ideas, a place to start.

         A thesaurus and a dictionary should always be at hand when a person writes. They are tools that can help the writer find the best word for his purpose.

         Writers also need to avoid using cliches, generalizations, and stereotypes.

1. Consider the three lists. Find other terms which could apply.

2. Consider the differences in meaning of some of the terms.

1. Write a six-line poem using the following words: good, bad, said, glad.

2. Revise the poem using specific words to replace the four used, tightening the meaning of the poem.

3. Revise the poem with its specific words, being sure to use at least four poetry devices besides enjambement and caesura.

Alternatives to “Said”
(Note: I'm sorry I was unable to format the following into columns for easier reading)

added          corrected          insisted           ranted
wept          admitted          cried          laughed
reminded          whispered          answered          
croaked          lied          replied          wondered
argued          crowed          mentioned          requested
yelled          asked          dared          murmured
roared          babbled          decided          muttered
sassed          bawled          declared          named
sighed          bet          demanded          nodded
smiled          blurted          denied          nudged
spoke          bragged          ended          offered
smirked          bugged          exclaimed          ordered
snickered          called          explained          panted
stammered          cautioned          expressed          pleaded
stated          chatted          fretted          praised
stuttered          cheered          gasped          prayed
suggested          chuckled          greeted          promised
tempted          coaxed          hinted          questioned
told          confessed          informed          quoted          wailed

Less Common Alternatives to “Said”

admonished droned projected vocalized affirmed enjoined quibbled volunteered alleged enumerated quipped assented espoused quizzed bantered estimated rebuked bemoaned evinced recited berated exhorted rejoiced broached indicated renounced cajoled intoned retorted carped jeered revealed challenged jested scowled cited lamented simpered claimed leered speculated communicated mocked sputtered conceded needled squelched demurred opined stipulated denounced outlined stormed disclosed presented theorized drawled proffered uttered

Alternatives to “Good” and “Bad”

Words to use in place of “Good”:

excellent          valuable          benefit          masterpiece          pride          gem          precious          jewel          brilliant          treasure
         model          prince          angel          beneficial          profit
         improve          asset          divine          heavenly          useful          advantageous          elite          edifying          genuine          moderate
         tiptop          virtuous          favorable          dandy          well behaved
         perfect          fresh

Words to use in place of “Bad”:

hurtful          ill          evil          pest          plague          thorn          abuse          oppression          persecution          outrage          atrocity          torture          mischief          rotten          vicious
         misbehave          trespass          deviate          decayed          decomposed          putrid          tainted          burden           imperfect          wicked           reprehensible           deteriorated           corrosive

Tone Vocabulary

Positive Tone/Attitude Words
lighthearted           hopeful           exuberant           enthusiastic           confident           cheery           optimistic           loving
          amused           elated           sympathetic           compassionate
          complimentary           passionate           proud           sunny
          bright           shining           brilliant           intelligent
          whimsical           bantering           wit

Negative Tone/Attitude Words

angry           disgusted           outraged           furious
          wrathful           bitter           irritated           indignant
          threatening           accusing           condemnatory           inflammatory

scornful           disdainful           contemptuous           sarcastic
          cynical           condescending           critical           facetious           patronizing           satiric           sardonic           mock-heroic           irreverent           mock-serious           ironic          flippant

somber           elegiac           melancholic           sad           disturbed           mournful           solemn           serious           apprehensive           concerned           fearful           despairing           gloomy           sober           foreboding           hopeless           staid           resigned

Neutral Tone/Attitude Words
formal           objective           incredulous           nostalgic           ceremonial           candid           shocked           reminiscent           restrained           clinical           baffled           sentimental           objective           disbelieving           questioning           urgent           instructive           matter-of-fact           admonitory           learned           factual           didactic           informative           authoritative
© Copyright 2003 Vivian (vzabel at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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