Word Choice 6 Traits of Good Writing Activity http://www.madglibs.com/ What trait are we working with? Basic level—choosing words that are the correct part of speech and have the generally correct meaning EX: I eat a cake yesterday. I ate a cake yesterday. “Eat” is present tense; “ate” is past tense. EX: Because I studied independently, I self-possessed completed my paper. Self-possessed appears as a synonym for independently, so you might try and use it the same way, but they are not interchangeable. EX: I defiantly love to read. I definitely love to read. “Defiant” is the correct word choice for the sentence; it has the incorrect meaning. Intermediate level Switch general nouns to specific nouns, utilize more interesting verbs, vary word choice Many words we rely on are overused or too general (vague). To give your writing stronger voice or make it subtly persuasive, pay attention to these vague, overused words and thoughtfully submit mores specific words. EX: nice kind, gentle, compassionate, pretty, thoughtful, comfortable, fascinating EX: people the government, teens, adults, senior citizens, American citizens, children, toddlers, the public, the media EX: bad smell stench Also, avoid repetition… When it comes to intelligent people, Julia is just about the most intelligent person I know. This sounds significantly better with varied word choice… When it comes to intelligent people, Julia is just about the cleverest. (Or try “brainiest,” “intellectual,” “astute,” “gifted,” or “bright”) Carousel Each small group will get a poster. On the poster, brainstorm and add as many appropriate words as you can generate. When I say, “SWITCH,” pass your poster to the next group and start on the next poster. Think of words we could use instead of: good, bad, walk, said, things/stuff Think of words we could use when we can use for: emotions, colors, transitions Now, get out a sheet of paper… In your same small groups, rotate the posters around the room again, copying useful words onto a notes sheet. Specifically pay attention to the emotion words, transition words, and good words, as these will be useful in writing your personal statement. Advanced Level Creating opportunities for descriptive language, using figures of speech, avoiding clichés Descriptive language: Instead of saying, “It was a beautiful day,” which gives little-to-no real information about what the day was like, use descriptive language: “The leaves were shades of crimson and gold, and the sun illuminated every hue, giving the impression of a forest bursting into flame.” OR “The sky looked as though it had never even heard of clouds.” Advanced Level Figures of speech: Don’t be afraid to work personification, metaphor, hyperbole (extreme exaggeration—think “Yo Mama” jokes), or understatement into your formal writing. It develops voice and creates a more interesting text. EX: Human understanding is an intricate spider web of thought. Each strand of insight connects isolated pieces of knowledge. The more dense this web of connections becomes, the easier it is to catch the finer details of a text. Advanced Level Avoiding clichés: Clichés are phrases so overused that they seem to lose their meaning or the resonance they once had. EX: dead as a doornail, pitch-black, lovesick, YOLO, home is where the heart is, daydreamer Try replacing these words and phrases with new ways to say the same thing. EX: pitch-black relentless darkness Fix it! Bert goes to the finish line and wins the race. Oscar carefully took his newborn baby to his wife. Maria makes her own clothes from her own patterns. Fix It! The good fans cheered for their team. Joey looked cool because he was wearing a nice jacket. The friends had a bad argument and didn’t speak for weeks. Fix it! I remember August 14th best of all because it was a perfect day. The weather was sunny and perfect, and the beached looked good as we stepped onto the sand. This article contains good ideas for saving money. It explains a good, easy way to find bargains when shopping. It also has some good tips on making your money work for you. Words to eliminate: You, your, you’re Like (unless you were just eh about something, amp up the language) Literally (unless you actually mean LITERALLY) Very Nice Good Bad A lot First, second, third (as transition words) Stupid/Dumb Ridiculous *And anything else you feel could be stronger, more impactful, more meaningfilled.* What to do now… 1. Finish your Writer’s Notebook (due Thursday) Hey! You could always make me a MadLib to complete or do some other word choice themed writing! 2. Continue to look over your personal statement, considering not only word choice, but spelling/grammar, adding specific details, removing unnecessary info, checking paragraph breaks, etc. 3. Work on homework for another class. 4. If nothing to do, read a book.