com155_Ch34 - EDITING ESSAYS Part Six Word Use 34 Word...

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Part Six Word Use 34. Word Choice 633 35. Commonly Confused Words 647 36. Spelling 660 EDITING ESSAYS ¡
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633 34 Word Choice Avoiding Language Pitfalls Understand the Importance of Choosing Words Carefully In conversation, much of your meaning is conveyed by your facial expres- sion, your tone of voice, and your gestures. In writing, you have only the words on the page to make your point, so you must choose them carefully. If you use vague or inappropriate words, your readers may not understand you. Carefully chosen, precise words tell your readers exactly what you mean. Two resources will help you find the best words for your meaning — a dictionary and a thesaurus. Dictionary You need a dictionary. For a very small investment, you can get a complete resource for all kinds of useful information about words — spelling, divi- sion of words into syllables, pronunciation, parts of speech, other forms of words, definitions, and examples of use. IDEA JOURNAL Describe your working habits. ¡
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EDITING ESSAYS 634 Part Six • Word Use The following is a part of a dictionary entry: con • crete (kon´ kre - t, kong´- kre - t, kon kre - t´, kong- kret´), adj., n., v. -cret • ed, -cret • ing , adj. 1. constituting an actual thing or instance; real; perceptible; substantial: concrete proof. 2. pertaining to or concerned with realities or actual instances rather than abstractions; particular as opposed to general: concrete proposals. 3. referring to an actual substance or thing, as opposed to an abstract quality: The words cat, water, and teacher are concrete, whereas the words truth, excellence, and adulthood are abstract. . . . Random House Webster’s College Dictionary Thesaurus A thesaurus gives synonyms (words that have the same meaning) for the words you look up. Like dictionaries, thesauruses come in inexpensive and even electronic editions. Use a thesaurus when you can’t find the right word for what you mean. Be careful, however, to choose a word that has the precise meaning you intend. If you are not sure how a word should be used, look it up in the dictionary. Concrete, adj. 1. Particular, specific, single, certain, special, unique, sole, peculiar, individual, separate, isolated, distinct, exact, precise, direct, strict, minute; definite, plain, evident, obvious; pointed, emphasized; restrictive, limiting, limited, well-defined, clear-cut, fixed, finite; determining, conclusive, decided. — J. I. Rodale, The Synonym Finder Practice Avoiding Four Common Word-Choice Problems Four common problems with word choice can make it difficult for readers to understand your point. You can avoid them by using specific words that fit your meaning and make your writing clearer. Spelling and end-of-line division Other forms Definition Example Pronunciation Parts of speech To look up words in both the dictionary and the thesaurus on the Web, visit Merriam- Webster Online at www.m-w.com .
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