Effective Diction or Word Choice in Writing For writers, using appropriate, specific diction is invaluable. Effective word choice is very important.
What is Diction? • Diction refers to the writer’s or speaker’s distinctive vocabulary style and expression. • Another definition is the choice of words, phrases, sentence structure, and figurative language in a literary work. • Essentially, diction is word choice.
Where do we see diction? EVERYWHERE! Remember, diction is word choice. Words are in everything we write and read. So, whenever you are analyzing something, don’t write anything like this: “The author uses diction to …” Or “The author’s use of diction exhibits …”
WHY NOT? If diction is everywhere, then who uses diction? Everyone. What you have to distinguish is the kind of diction an author is using. “The author uses concise, military diction to…” “The author’s use of antiquated diction exhibits the time period the character is from.”
Choosing appropriate diction • Words are appropriate when they are suited to the subject, audience and situation. 4 GENERAL TYPES OF DICTION -Learned -Popular -Colloquial -Slang
Learned vs. Popular Diction • Popular words are so named because they belong to the whole populace; they are often used in speaking. • Learned words are words used more widely by educated people.
Colloquial and Slang • The term colloquial is defined as spoken or written language that is informal in diction or style of expression. • Examples: kind of, a lot, mad, sure, don’t • Slang is language of a highly colloquial type. Slang is used by everyone. Much slang is borrowed from the popular vocabulary and given new meaning. • Examples: cool, dough, chillaxin, emo, kicks
What type of diction is appropriate when you are taking the AP Exams? Although “learned diction” would be the most appropriate, many inexperienced writers believe that formality is a virtue and big words are impressive. When using “learned diction”, make sure you truly understand the words you are using. Often times, writers who try to artificially make their writing extremely formal end up with an inconsistent, and sometimes humorous, piece of writing.
Understanding Denotation and Connotation • Denotation and Connotation are two aspects of diction. • Denotation is the specific meaning of a word/phrase. • Connotation is the figurative, cultural assumptions that the word/phrase implies or suggests.
Group Work • You will work in groups of three or four. • You will be given a list of words. • As a group, you must look up the definition of each word to find the ______________. • You will then identify each word as have a positive, negative or neutral _______________. • From your list, choose two words to present to the class and demonstrate your knowledge of these words’ denotations and connotations.
T-Chart Model(Yours should look like this) Word and Denotation Connotation (positive, negative or neutral)