Word Challenge   10 comments

I have been tagged by Maria over at  Wordsmith Me

Often times, we use words without thinking about their impact.  Choosing the right word means understanding who our audience is.  We must be careful not to misuse our thesaurus to simply find a different, overstated, or trendy word.  Mark Twain said it best:

right-word.jpg“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 

If we dare to believe that the pen is truly mightier than the sword, we can’t forget that words are powerful tools in the wordsmith’s toolbox

Here is the Challenge: Pick two or three common words that through overuse have lost their power or that fail to convey meaning precisely.  Then choose better alternatives and place them in sample sentences. 

My word choices are:

1. numerous (instead of ‘lots’) Actually, there are numerous words that could be used instead of the word ‘lots’. (The word ‘lots’ is exhausted and needs a vacation.)

2. peculiar (instead of ‘weird’ or ‘funny’) The clerk had a peculiar method of stocking the shelves.

3. consider (instead of ‘think’) “Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8 TNIV)

This challenge made me stop and consider the words I have chosen to express my thoughts in the past and what words I will be choosing in the future! 

Thank you Maria! I am off to search for better words!

I am tagging Ellen, Scotti and Cynthia  for this challenge!  Ladies,  if you do not want to make this an actual post on your site, feel free to just leave your answers as a comment on my post.  Good luck!

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Posted April 30, 2007 by Lana G! in Entertainment, Events, Fun, Random, Tag, Writing

10 responses to “Word Challenge

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  1. Lana,

    Very well done! If I have inspired reflection–I’m a happy teacher!

    I look forward to additional gems from the tag team 🙂

    Maria

  2. “Wait for it…” It’s percolating.

  3. Hi Lana,

    Thank you for your gracious comments on my blog and for tagging me with this word challenge!

    After reading your note, I *considered* *numerous* words that I use in daily conversation that are perhaps not all that *peculiar* but certainly would fall in the category of overused. 🙂

    I will challenge myself to incorporate the following words in my written and verbal conversation:

    * remarkable – (instead of awesome) Your testimony is remarkable!
    * enthusiastic – (instead of looking foward) I am enthusiastic about starting the new bible study.
    * consistently – (instead of always) He consistently inspires me to pick up the bible and read it for myself.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Scotti

  4. Scotti

    I am ‘consistently’ inspired by your blog and find ‘remarkable’ insight there in expressing what I have learned in my own quiet times!

    I am ‘enthusiastic’ about seeing the other ‘tag team’ member’s remarks!

    This has truly been an entertaining exercise. I was going to choose the overused word ‘awesome’ as well! Nicely done and thank you for participating.

    A sister in Christ,
    Lana G!

  5. For me, it is more along the line of using more specific words than it is replacing one word with another. Instead of “lovely,” I could say “sunny” if speaking of the weather, “stylish” if speaking of a dress,” “toughtful” or “insightful” if referring to a comment — just not “lovely,” at least not so often.

    Perhaps “overwhelmed” could replace “stressed,” on those occasions when there is too much to do.

    However, being a writer and educator, I’m pretty obsessive about using the right word, and most of the things that come to mind at the moment are words I keep hearing misused — for example, penultimate, which I hear people use to mean “more than the top,” when it actually means “next to last.”

    But in the spirit of “knowing your audience,” here’s a little tale a friend from England just forwarded to me.

    A young teacher from Leeds had accepted a temporary job teaching a class of four-year-olds out in one of the most isolated, rural parts of north Wales. One of her first lessons involved teaching the letter S so she held up a big colour photo of a sheep and said: “Now, who can tell me what this is?” No answer. Twenty blank and wordless faces looked back at her. “Come on, who can tell me what this is?” she exclaimed, tapping the photo determinedly, unable to believe that the children were quite so ignorant. The 20 faces became apprehensive and even fearful as she continued to question them with mounting frustration.

    Eventually, one brave soul put up a tiny, reluctant hand. “Yes!” she cried, waving the snap aloft. “Tell me what you think this is!” “Please, Miss,” said the boy warily. “Is it a three-year-old Border Leicester?”

  6. Cynthia, I can just picture those poor little ones terrified that they did not know the breed of sheep and all the teacher wanted was the simple answer – the word “sheep”! Great example of knowing your audience.

    Thank you for participating in this challenge. This exercise is helping me to expand my writing horizon. I have been encouraged and prodded to improve how I express myself. I am so grateful for my dear writer “bloggies”.

    May blessings abound

  7. Sheep country expertise, I love it.

  8. My 10 year old son just did a country report on Wales (part of a family heritage project at school) and he learned there are about 3 million people in Wales and over 10 million sheep! I do imagine that the people of Wales know their sheep! 😉 Great lesson from Cynthia. Thanks!

    Scotti

  9. My word challenge response is going to take a different twist. This is an example of lost in translation. During a sermon at the Russian Baptist Church, a speaker was talking about God and trying to say a phrase in English instead of Russian and here’s how it came out…”God is good, isn’t it? We’re still chuckling over that one. Blessings!

  10. This Tag Team is fantastic!

    All of you have brought a different twist on the challenge! Thanks for participating and Maria, thanks for challenging us!

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