Monday, December 7, 2009

Stephanie A’s Strategies for Successful Word Choice

An important step in the writing process is editing. This step is important because editing and revising our work makes us step back and really look at what we have written. The editing process often requires us to focus on our choice of words. When we write, we have the liberty of choosing any words or phrases that we like. This freedom allows us to choose words that have the most effective impact possible.

Here are few strategies to fall back on when deciding which words to use:

  • Eliminate Unnecessary “Filler” Words

Effective writing requires that our thoughts and ideas are presented in a clear, concise manner. If we clog up our writing with extra words and phrases that do not add any meaning to our work, we are simply using them to fill space. These unnecessary “filler” words do not provide any substance to our writing. Phrases like “kind of” and “sort of” add no real value to our writing and can simply be eliminated altogether.

  • Avoid Clichés

These catchy little phrases should be avoided in professional writing. Clichés often lose their impact because they tend to be overused and annoying. Writers should avoid using these wordy phrases, when a single word will do just fine. For instance, avoid using the phrase “up in the air” when you could just say “undecided” instead.

  • Be Careful with Unfamiliar Words

Writers should take caution when using words they are unfamiliar with, since they may easily be used in the wrong context. It is important to check a dictionary for the proper definition to avoid using the incorrect word. Also, writers should be careful when using a thesaurus. Not all synonyms listed will have the correct connotation. Again, always be sure to check with a dictionary for the proper meaning of a new word.

We must all remember that the words we choose can have a dramatic impact on the impression we give as professional writers. I hope these strategies will help all of us to choose our words wisely!

Check out these sites for more great tips on word choice:


  1. I agree that some words we use can have a dramatic impact. Great job! =]

  2. Good job with your blog! This is very important to know especially as a student in college!

  3. I agree that editing is an important part of the writing process. One of my first professors in college taught that you should never use "very" as a filler word. Good post!