A man with a shocked look on his face while reading a page - diction


What is Diction? Diction is a writer or speaker’s choice of words the appropriateness of words given the rhetorical situation, especially audience and topic a scale, a measure, of the formality of the occasion: It’s commonplace to categorize discourse into three measures of formality: formal, standard, informal the accent, pronunciation, or speech-sound quality of a ...

Homonym Usage

What are homonyms?

Homonyms are words that sound alike but have different spellings and meanings, such as pair, pare, and pear. Choosing the wrong word from among two or more homonyms results in a spelling error; this inaccuracy creates confusion in the mind of the reader and temporarily interrupts the flow of the passage.

concrete frontloaders lined up along Palm Coast beach after a hurricane

Concrete Language, Sensory Language

What is Concrete Language, Sensory Language? Concrete, Sensory Language Concrete, sensory language is the antithesis of abstract language, which tends to be intangible and metaphysical. Related Concepts: Description; Diction; Figurative Language; Vague Language; Writer-Based Prose Style Why Does Concrete, Sensory Language Matter? Concrete, sensory language provides the level of detail, the level of specificity, that ...

a mural of a graffiti artist spraying so cliché


Cliché is an overused word, phrase or opinion. “As luck would have it, at the drop of a hat I was at my wits’ end.” What does this sentence say? Anything? Nothing? Nothing new—this sentence contains three clichés strung together. Just as you want to avoid archaic and discipline-specific language (jargon), you also want to ...

Air traffic controllers and pilots using aviation jargon to communicate with brevity and clarity


Have you ever read the first few sentences of a scholarly article and been so annoyed by the denseness of the writing? Take this line for example: “On the contrary, I proffer that the ontological necessity to determine the nature of dwelling resides within the viewer.” What does this mean? I have no idea, either. That’s because I’m not a philosopher, and “ontological” is a term that is not used very often outside of philosophical endeavors.

Perhaps the most important aspect of writing is clarity. You’re writing to communicate a message, yes? Don’t you want your message to be received? Well, writing with obscure or group-specific language will often muddle your point. Use words with which you’re familiar—and, more importantly, words with which your audience will be familiar.

Archaisms, like this old Verbatim Datalife CD, reflected outdated language practices


An archaism refers to an out-of-style word or phrase, such as “whilst,” “thusly,” or “thou.” When cultivating your own personal writing style, it’s important that you avoid sounding artificial. And one surefire way to sound artificial is to produce stilted writing by loading your paper with old theatrical-sounding words. Here are some archaisms commonly found in student writing (ones to avoid):

  • Thusly: You can use “thus” in writing, but be careful not to overuse it. Constantly repeating the word “thus” can make your writing sound unnatural. Try varying your transitional language by incorporating phrases like “as such,” “as a result,” or “in effect.” “Thusly,” however, should never be used. When have you ever heard that word used in modern-day society?

Figurative Language

What is Figurative Language? It’s the use of words in nonliteral ways: Personification & Metaphor Examples: “Your government is working night and day to repel this virus, and we will succeed, just as this country has seen off every alien invader for the last thousand years” (Boris Johnson) a tool writers, speakers, knowledge workers . ...