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Grade 10
Sep 5, 2022

Choosing the appropriate word at the right time can be difficult since it necessitates an understanding of how context influences the optimum mode of communication. Choosing Nuances  the proper word to match the idea you want to convey is a difficult endeavour that necessitates a lot of trial and error. 

Below are some tips to assist you in making your word choosing process easier: 

  • Consider your audience, their needs, and their grasp of your subject matter while deciding on the correct word(s) for the job. 
  • Avoid clichés and empty language whenever feasible. 
  • Find the most concise and direct approach to express your thoughts. 

Now, let us look in detail how to make use of these tips. 

Use the Right Word: 

When a word is used correctly, and in context, its intended meaning, tone, and connotations correspond to those it is related to. In other words, the writer should know and understand both the denotative and connotative meanings of the word. 

Connotation relates to the inferred meanings held by a word, whereas denotation refers to the definition of a term as found in a dictionary. Connotations are formed by how a term is used in specific situations. Furthermore, two terms with the same denotative meaning but different connotations can exist. Home and house, for example, both mean “a shelter in which one or more people dwell.” While the term “house” refers primarily to the physical structure, “home” encompasses not only the structure but also a person’s relationship to it, which connotes belonging and warmth. 

Some terms have various meanings, but they are so closely connected that their proper usage is unclear. Take, for example, the words continually and continuously. Because continually means ‘regularly’ and continuously means ‘unceasingly,’ they are not interchangeable, and their similarity frequently generates confusion. 


A decent dictionary will occasionally incorporate a word’s implications, but most of the time it will merely provide a simple definition. Careful observation of how a term is used in distinct settings is the most dependable way of learning how it is used in general. 

Avoid Cliches and Empty Words: 

When you try to make your thoughts more accessible to readers by utilizing clichés and meaningless words, you may wind up having the opposite impact. Cliches are overused expressions that have lost their meaning or rhetorical punch; empty words are just that—words that take up space but offer little meaning. Even though readers would undoubtedly understand your meaning if you wrote: 

  • Milton presents many different perspectives on God and humanity. The bottom line is that humanity will never be perfect, but God will. 

Relying on a well-worn phrase that may have once been effective in making a point—especially since the expression originated in reference to the figures on the last line of a financial statement— but is now standing in for a more precise articulation of the writer’s assertion, dilutes the rhetorical force of your statement. Furthermore, the context here (discussing Milton’s views on humans) makes the bottom line an odd fit for the subject matter. ‘Milton ultimately stands with the view that mankind can never be flawless, but God can,’ might be a better alternative in this case. 

Empty words are words that do not provide additional information to your meaning yet are not required to communicate it. Consider the following examples: 

  • The car is red in color
  • I’m focusing on the field of academics. 

The difference is dramatic if the terms “in color” and “the field of” are removed from sentence 1 and sentence 2: “The car is red” and “I’m focusing on academics” are much more direct. Because they don’t provide any new information to the sentence, the modified phrases are “empty.” 


Be Clear and Direct: 

Clarity comes from simplicity. Choose terms that communicate your ideas clearly. While words you rarely use or “big words” are sometimes used to convey the impression of authority and experience, they can also confuse readers, especially if the phrase is unexpected in context or suggests unsuitable connotations. However, there are times when you may want to employ a word that is not commonly used in regular conversation because no other words communicate the same meaning. Being straightforward and explicit does not stop you from utilizing those terms if you use them correctly and in the appropriate context. 


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