PositiveNegativeNeutralAvoiding SlangSlangdescribes informal words that are considered nonstandard English. Slang often changes with passing fads andmay be used by or familiar to only a specific group of people. Most people use slang when they speak and in personalcorrespondences, such as e-mails, text messages, and instant messages. Slang is appropriate between friends in aninformal context but should be avoided in formal academic writing.Writing at WorkFrequent exposure to media and popular culture has desensitized many of us to slang. In certain situations,using slang at work may not be problematic, but keep in mind that words can have a powerful effect. Slang inprofessional e-mails or during meetings may convey the wrong message or even mistakenly offend someone.Exercise 2Edit the following paragraph by replacing the slang words and phrases with more formal language. Rewrite theparagraph on your own sheet of paper.I felt like such an airhead when I got up to give my speech. As I walked towardthe podium, I banged my knee on a chair. Man, I felt like such a klutz. On topof that, I kept saying “like” and “um,” and I could not stop fidgeting. I was sostressed out about being up there. I feel like I’ve been practicing this speech24/7, and I still bombed. It was ten minutes of me going off about how wesometimes have to do things we don’t enjoy doing. Wow, did I ever prove mypoint. My speech was so bad I’m surprised that people didn’t boo. My teachersaid not to sweat it, though. Everyone gets nervous his or her first timespeaking in public, and she said, with time, I would become a whiz at thisspeech giving stuff. I wonder if I have the guts to do it again.CollaborationPlease share with a classmate and compare your answers.4.3 WORD CHOICE• 149
Avoiding ClichésClichésare descriptive expressions that have lost their effectiveness because they are overused. Writing that usesclichés often suffers from a lack of originality and insight. Avoiding clichés in formal writing will help you writein original and fresh ways.•Clichéd:Whenever my brother and I get into an argument, he always says something thatmakes myblood boil.•Plain:Whenever my brother and I get into an argument, he always says something that makesme really angry.•Original:Whenever my brother and I get into an argument, he always says something thatmakes me want to go to the gym and punch the bag for a few hours.