Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

4: Finding the Right Words to Write

  • Page ID
    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Chapter Summary

    No one is born with a full vocabulary; you spend all of your life collecting expressions for what you find in your quotidian adventures. As we chart the metaphorical waters of our immense body of words and lexical chunks (word pairings) in English, we cast nets and find some words stick, some flounder out, and some common ones are always going to appear--with a few rare and exotic specimens that float up from the depths of usage to make headlines and then disappear. Think of words that journalists or celebrities use, like "demagoguery" (to describe certain political mindsets) or "drip" (to describe jewelry, of course). Not only is it important to choose words that make sense given their contextual use, it is important to account for additional aspects that can shape your writing's tone, style, and voice. This chapter will help you choose the right words to write with in your college classes as well as go over how to write more or less elaborately, expressively, or accurately given our immense amount of options when sharing knowledge and emotion through our shared language.