Diction

Hello, Write Owls. Welcome to Day 25 of Grammar 110. Today we’re talking about diction.

Diction is your word choice. There aren’t exact rules regarding your diction. However, it’s something to consider when editing your writing.

Consider your audience. Are you using words they will understand? If you’re writing for kids, don’t use complex words they don’t know. You can use some advanced words as long as there are context clues to help them figure out the meaning.

Consider your character. What kinds of words would this person use? Do they rely heavily on slang? Are they lofty and use words most people aren’t familiar with?

Consider the word that bests gets your meaning across. There’s a difference between walking and strolling. Strolling could be used instead of walking slowly to remove the adverb and make the sentence more interesting. Think carefully about which word fits the context the best.

Be concise. Check for filler words (see my lesson on those here) and see if you can replace them with more active or engaging words. You can also use them to avoid passive voice (there will be a lesson on that next week).

No one says you have to sit with a thesaurus beside you when you’re writing or editing. As long as you’re not repeating the same word 4,000 times in your novel, you don’t need to replace it with every known synonym. I typically only use a thesaurus when I use a word too many times in a short passage (e.g. five times on one page). Sometimes you can’t replace the word, though. (How do you replace you? Or the?)

That’s all I have on diction. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on word choice since we’ve talked about it previously in this course. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and I will answer them either as a reply or in my Q&A on Saturday.

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