“All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary—it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.”
— Somerset Maugham
If you are an author, a blogger, or a copywriter…then correct spelling, punctuation, word use, and grammar is a necessity in all areas of your writing…books, blogs, marketing, advertisements, social media, queries, submissions, letters, and emails.
I can hear the horrified gasps, feel the eyes rolling—doubt and fear from writers everywhere. Panic in the streets.
Before you throw your hands up, and stop reading, let’s look at the WHY behind this necessity.
Your books come and go, but you, the author, remain constant. You are the first line of defense when it comes to marketing yourself—which you are doing every day, every time you write…anything.
You are marketing not only to readers, but to publishers, agents, editors, and your fellow authors who would network with you. You are marketing your writing ability—yes—but you are ALSO marketing your organization capabilities, your attention to details, your desire for accuracy….
What if you don’t care about details and accuracy? Publishers do.
Publishers, editors, and agents notice. In this world of instant access, through social media and blogs, your everyday comments and posts are seen.
Agents, editors, and publishers (oh my!) have deadlines. Organization is a big part of that. Make it appear you are organized—even if you have to fake it.
Here are some excellent tools to keep close to you, always. I suggest bookmarking them, as well as storing them on your smart phones and tablets—wherever you write, post, and email.
“We believe the greater the vocabulary, the more concise the writing. Unfortunately, readers might not understand what you write. The definitions for some words listed are not the “common” meanings; we have chosen to focus on the words and meanings used to impress audiences.
Serious readers enjoy new words and writers love using the rare greats. Reading teaches vocabulary as we study context at all levels: elemental grammar, plot, setting, and more. Readers thrill at the discovery of new words; writers should thrill at using them wisely. There is more to words than winning at Scrabble™.”
“abrogate (v) – void, do away with, repeal
abscond (v) – to depart secretly
abstemious (adj) – moderate in consumption
brook (v) – to endure, tolerate
bucolic (adj) – rustic, pastoral, natural; simple
celerity (n) – speed, rapidity
censure (v) – to rebuke officially
chary (adj) – wary, cautious
diffuse (adj) – spread out, wide-ranging; using too many words
dilate (v) – expand
dilatory (adj) – delaying
enervate (v) – to weaken, to drain, to take vitality from
engender (v) – to create, to produce, to cause
feign (v) – to pretend, act, deceive
fervent (adj) – emotional; zealous
fester (v) – ulcerate; rankle. festering (v)
garner (v) – gather, store up
garrulity (n) – talkativeness
impervious (adj) – resistant, strong, incapable of being affected
impalpable (adj) – imperceptible, intangible
jejune (adj) – poor; unsatisfying
jetsam (n) – object tossed overboard to lighten a ship
kinematic (adj) – relating to motion
knavery (n) – untrustworthiness; lack of principles
libidinous (adj) – lustful
licentious (adj) – sexually immoral
mellifluous (adj) – sweet like/as honey
mendacious (adj) – dishonest. mendacity (n)
nebulous (adj) – vague, cloudy, murky; lacking form
neologism (n) – a new word or usage
neophyte (n) – convert; beginner, novice
obfuscate (v) – to make confusing; to mislead
objurgate (v) – to scold
paucity (n) – scarcity; lack
pedagogue (n) – narrow-minded teacher
quaff (v) – to drink; to quench thirst
qualm (n) – misgiving, reservation
refutation (n) – disproof of opponents arguments
reciprocal (adj) – mutual, shared, exchanged in kind
sanction (n/v) – permission, authorized; a penalty
sanguine (adj) – cheerful; hopeful
sapient (adj) – wise; shrewd
taciturn (adj) – silent; not fond of talking
tantamount (adj) – equivalent in effect or value
taut (adj) – tight, tense
ubiquitous (adj) – everywhere, widespread
ulterior (adj) – unstated; hidden
venerate (v) – to respect. veneration (n)
veracity (n) – truthfulness, honesty
wangle (v) – bring about by manipulation
welter (n/v) – turmoil; to roll, to tumble
xenophobe (n) – one afraid of strangers
xyloid (adj) – like wood
yammer (v) – to talk with a sad tone
zymotic (adj) – of fermentation; caused by disease”
We use spoken and written words every single day to communicate ideas, thoughts, and emotions to those around us. Sometimes we communicate successfully, and sometimes we’re not quite so successful. “That’s not what I meant!” becomes our mantra (an often repeated word or phrase). However, a good vocabulary can help us say what we mean.
For example, let’s say that you are outside in your yard and see a large black car stop in the road. You can see four tinted windows on one side of the car, and you assume there are four tinted windows on the other side, too. Just then, the driver’s door opens, and a man wearing white gloves steps out. He walks to the back of the car and looks underneath. He shrugs his shoulders, climbs back into the car, and drives away. After you remember to close your mouth, which has been hanging open, you run next door to tell your friend what you saw. What do you say? If you know a couple of key words, you can quickly explain to this person what you saw. Instead of describing the number of windows and the length of the car, you could simply say that you saw a black limousine (a long, luxurious car). Then, instead of describing the man with the white gloves, you could say you saw the chauffeur (someone paid to drive a car or limousine) walk to the back of the car. Knowing these key words can help you quickly and effectively communicate your meaning.
When you’re faced with a writing assignment, a good vocabulary is an indispensable (very important or necessary) tool. If you have several synonyms (words with similar meanings) in your repertoire (“toolbox”), you’ll be able to choose the best word for the job. Avoid vague words like “stuff” or “things” when you write. These words do not give the reader a good sense of your meaning. Also, use strong verbs that give the reader good information.
Work on building your vocabulary so that you can choose the stronger, more descriptive words in your writing.
You may also want to vary your vocabulary depending on your audience. Are you writing for children? Then stick with simpler words. Are you writing for college students? Then pull the more difficult words out of your “toolbox” to avoid talking down to them. It’s important to consider your audience when writing.
You may also find it difficult to choose the best word for a sentence when you’re writing. If you have a strong vocabulary, these choices will be easier!”
For more great tips on writing from Time4Writing, click HERE.
“Adjectives — descriptive words that modify nouns — often come under fire for their cluttering quality, but often it’s quality, not quantity, that is the issue. Plenty of tired adjectives are available to spoil a good sentence, but when you find just the right word for the job, enrichment ensues. Practice precision when you select words. Here’s a list of adjectives:
Adamant: unyielding; a very hard substance
Adroit: clever, resourceful
Animistic: quality of recurrence or reversion to earlier form
Antic: clownish, frolicsome
Baleful: deadly, foreboding
Bellicose: quarrelsome (its synonym belligerent can also be a noun)
Bilious: unpleasant, peevish
Boorish: crude, insensitive
Caustic: corrosive, sarcastic; a corrosive substance
Cerulean: sky blue
Crapulous: immoderate in appetite
Defamatory: maliciously misrepresenting
Didactic: conveying information or moral instruction
Dilatory: causing delay, tardy
Dowdy: shabby, old-fashioned; an unkempt woman
Efficacious: producing a desired effect
Effulgent: brilliantly radiant
Egregious: conspicuous, flagrant
Endemic: prevalent, native, peculiar to an area
Equanimous: even, balanced
Execrable: wretched, detestable
Fastidious: meticulous, overly delicate
Feckless: weak, irresponsible
Fecund: prolific, inventive
Fulsome: abundant, overdone, effusive
Garrulous: wordy, talkative
Gustatory: having to do with taste or eating
Heuristic: learning through trial-and-error or problem solving
Histrionic: affected, theatrical
Hubristic: proud, excessively self-confident
Incendiary: inflammatory, spontaneously combustible, hot
Insidious: subtle, seductive, treacherous
Insolent: impudent, contemptuous
Inveterate: habitual, persistent
Invidious: resentful, envious, obnoxious
Jejune: dull, puerile
Jocular: jesting, playful
Limpid: simple, transparent, serene
Luminous: clear, shining
Mannered: artificial, stilted
Meretricious: whorish, superficially appealing, pretentious
Mordant: biting, incisive, pungent
Munificent: lavish, generous
Noxious: harmful, corrupting
Obtuse: blunt, stupid
Parsimonious: frugal, restrained
Pendulous: suspended, indecisive
Pernicious: injurious, deadly
Petulant: rude, ill humored
Platitudinous: resembling or full of dull or banal comments
Precipitate: steep, speedy
Propitious: auspicious, advantageous, benevolent
Querulous: cranky, whining
Quiescent: inactive, untroublesome
Rebarbative: irritating, repellent
Recalcitant: resistant, obstinate
Redolent: aromatic, evocative
Rhadamanthine: harshly strict
Sagacious: wise, discerning
Sartorial: relating to attire, especially tailored fashions
Serpentine: snake-like, winding, tempting or wily
Spasmodic: having to do with or resembling a spasm, excitable, intermittent
Strident: harsh, discordant; obtrusively loud
Taciturn: closemouthed, reticent
Tenacious: persistent, cohesive,
Tremulous: nervous, trembling, timid, sensitive
Trenchant: sharp, penetrating, distinct
Turbulent: restless, tempestuous
Turgid: swollen, pompous
Ubiquitous: pervasive, widespread
Uxorious: inordinately affectionate or compliant with a wife
Verdant: green, unripe
Voluble: glib, given to speaking
Voracious: ravenous, insatiable
Zealous: eager, devoted”
For more great tips on writing from Daily Writing Tips, click HERE.
Dictionaries—every writer needs them! This is the absolute best resource that Editing Addict has found on the dictionary front:
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