STYLE • Word Choice (diction) • Audience Awareness • Voice • Sentence variety
With good WORD CHOICE, the writer creates a mental picture for the reader by using words that are specific and accurate. The writer uses strong action verbs whenever possible to show the reader what is happening rather than tell the reader. The adjectives are as descriptive as possible. The nouns are specific, not general. Striking words and phrases catch the reader's eye, but the language is natural and not overdone. Slang and clichés are used sparingly, if at all. The writing is fresh, appealing, and full of energy.
Word Choice Cartoon • “A good writer will sometimes search hours for just the right word.” Snoopy
Word Choice • natural • active, energetic verbs • precise, concrete nouns and adjectives • simple language used well • accuracy of expression • paint pictures • creative combinations of words • Avoid repetition • new twists on everyday words
Word Choice Key Question: Do the words and phrases create vivid pictures and linger in your mind?
Word Choice “I do not choose the right word. I get rid of the wrong one.” A.E. Houseman
The Bus Stop Each morning I ride the bus to school. I wait along with the other people who ride my bus. Sometimes the bus is late and we get angry. Some guys start fights and stuff just to have something to do. I’m always glad when the bus finally comes.
The Bus Stop (published) A bus arrived. It discharged its passengers, closed its doors with a hiss and disappeared over the crest of a hill. Not one of the people waiting at the bus stop had attempted to board. One woman wore a sweater that was too small, a long skirt, white sweater socks, and house slippers. One man was in his undershirt.
The Bus Stop (published) Another man wore shoes with the toes cut out, a soiled blue serge jacket and brown pants. There was something wrong with these people. They made faces. A mouth smiled at nothing and unsmiled, smiled and unsmiled. A head shook in vehement denial. Most of them carried brown paper bags rolled tight against their stomachs. E.L. Doctrow, The Book of Daniel (New York: Random House, 1971), p. 15.