Presentation on theme: "Cooperative Online Writing Lab Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Word Choice: Exact Words."— Presentation transcript:
Cooperative Online Writing Lab Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Word Choice: Exact Words
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 The Dictionary and Thesaurus Use the dictionary and thesaurus if you find yourself wishing for a better word. Dictionaries list synonyms and antonyms for many words. They also may have helpful comments on shades of meaning. Thesauruses may list many words you have never heard, or words that are only vaguely familiar. Be careful. Whenever tempted to use a new word, look it up in the dictionary first to avoid misusing it.
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Connotations Connotations are emotional colorings that affect how readers respond to a word. Besides making sure the dictionary meaning is appropriate for the situation, the connotation must also agree.
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Purr words and Snarl words American linguist S. J. Hayakawa invented Purr words and Snarl words. Some words have negative (snarl words), positive (purr words), or neutral connotations.
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Purr words Positive connotation Snarl words Negative Connotation ThinkingDay-dreaming DancingJiggling about SmilingSmirking WeepingSniveling WritingScribbling
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Test connotative meaning. Rank the word on the scale of different qualities good….bad sincere….insincere happy….unhappy light….dark beautiful….ugly strong….weak valuable….worthless smooth….rough
Bluefield College COWL, 2005 Connotation Negative connotation does not mean that these words should not be used. Actually, negative connotative words should be used if the event is filled with negative feelings. Do not forget to consider the audience and purpose before deciding on the final word choice.
See if you can tell the difference in the atmosphere between the sentences, and how I picked the appropriate connotative word. The boy scribbled in his notebook during class and missed important notes. --negative connotation-- The boy attentively wrote down notes from the professors lecture. --positive connotation-- Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Specific, concrete nouns. Specific, concrete nouns express meaning more vividly than general or abstract ones. The general noun is listed first, then the noun becomes more specific: team, baseball team, Atlanta Braves. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Abstract and Concrete Nouns Abstract nouns – qualities and ideas like justice, beauty, realism, dignity Concrete nouns – point to sensory experiences and to physical objects Although general and abstract language is sometimes necessary to convey your meaning, the audience usually prefers specific, concrete words. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Be alert for misused word forms. For example, using a noun such as absence, significance, or persistence when your meaning requires the adjective absent, significant, or persistent. The persistence sales representative sold many items. Correct form: The persistent sales representative sold many items. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Idioms Idioms are speech forms that follow no easily specified rules. Native speakers seldom have problems with idioms, but prepositions sometimes cause trouble. When in doubt, consult a good desk dictionary. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Examples of Idioms IncorrectCorrect agree to (an idea) agree with (an idea) angry at (a person) angry with (a person) different than (a person or thing) different from (a person or thing) intend on doing intend to do off of off type of a type of Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Avoid worn-out expressions. Worn-out expressions are also called clichés. Clichés are so predictable that they should be left out of your writing. The box was light as a feather. Better choice: The box felt like it was empty. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Use figures of speech with care. Figures of speech compare two seemingly unlike things to reveal surprising similarities. An appropriate example of a good comparison, William Faulkner describes the eyes of a plump old woman who had locked herself in her house for years as like two small pieces of coal pressed into a lump of dough. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
Mixed Metaphors Mixed metaphors is the combination of two or more things that do not make sense together. The girls joy bubbled over like balloons expanding. Better choice: The girls joy bubbled over like a shaken up soda pop. Bluefield College COWL, 2005
You now know the exact words to use!
More information for Purr and Snarl words can be reached by clicking on this link: esources/exp_lang/words_meanings.html esources/exp_lang/words_meanings.html
Need More Assistance? Stop by the Writing Center or Come back to COWL again and again! We Mooove fast to help you! Bluefield College COWL, 2005