5 Tips for Finding the Right Words

Finding the right words or word. This is the challenge for all who write to inform and persuade. While I have yet to discover a magic formula, I do have a few ideas on the subject. Following are five reliable tips.

1. Avoid clichés.
Cliché-laden copy lacks originality and spark. Clichés are other people’s words, not your own.

2. Rewrite.
It has been said many times that “writing is rewriting.” Seldom does one draft the perfect headline, script, article, or Web page. Get it down, then work on it. And then work on it some more.

3. Edit.
Here’s a secret: Finding the right words or word is often eliminating the extraneous. A good default is to simplify, clarify and cut copy. You can always add or change a word later.

4. Use a thesaurus.
In English, there are lots of words to choose from. So brighten up those verbs. Find the ideal adjective. But don’t try to impress with big or obscure words. Instead, stick to words that aid comprehension.

5. Read copy aloud.

This is the final test. How do the words sound? Your ear will tell you which words don’t belong.

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