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Word Choice, Commonly Confused Words, & Spelling. Brenham Writing Room Created by D. Herring. Word Choice Problems. There are four common word choice problems: Vague and Abstract Words Wordy & Redundant Language Clichés Slang. 1. Vague and abstract words.

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word choice commonly confused words spelling

Word Choice, Commonly Confused Words, & Spelling

Brenham Writing Room

Created by D. Herring

word choice problems
Word Choice Problems
  • There are four common word choice problems:
    • Vague and Abstract Words
    • Wordy & Redundant Language
    • Clichés
    • Slang
1 vague and abstract words
1. Vague and abstract words
  • Vague and abstract words are too general. They don’t provide readers with a clear idea of your meaning.
    • That was a good movie.
    • I felt bad when I woke up.
    • The dog is small.
    • Sally won a lot of money at the casino.
vague and abstract words cont
Vague and abstract words cont.
  • Try to replace vague and abstract words with concrete words or specific words.
    • A concrete word names something that can be seen, heard, felt, tasted, or smelled.
      • The movie had many plot twists.
      • I was running a fever when I woke up.
    • A specific word names a particular individual or quality.
      • The dog weighs only three pounds.
      • Sally won five-thousand dollars at the casino.
2 wordy and redundant language
2. Wordy and Redundant Language
  • Wordy language results from using too many words to express your thoughts.
    • Incorrect (I): I haven’t picked a major at this point in time.
    • Correct (C): I haven’t picked a major yet.
    • I: Due to the fact that I don’t feel well, I stayed home today.
    • C: Because I don’t feel well, I stayed home today.
wordy and redundant language
Wordy and Redundant Language
  • Redundant language occurs when you use words that say the same thing.
    • I: He has reverted back to smoking.
    • C: He has reverted to smoking.
    • I: My two twins are celebrating their birthday.
    • C: My twins are celebrating their birthday.
3 clich s
3. Clichés
  • Clichés are phrases used so often that people no longer pay attention to them.
    • Writing an “A” paper is easier said than done.
    • I’ll turn it in late, but it’s better late than never.
  • Avoid using clichés in academic writing.
4 slang
4. Slang
  • Slang is informal and casual language often shared by a particular group.
    • My mom chewed me out for coming home late.
    • I used to not get along with my mom, but we’re cool now.
    • I was bummed about my midterm grade.
  • The use of slang is inappropriate in formal writing.
commonly confused words
Commonly Confused Words
  • Homophones are words that sound alike but have different meanings and are spelled differently.
    • to, too, two
    • there, their, they’re
    • your vs. you’re
    • its vs. it’s
    • threw vs. through
  • See comprehensive list on pp. 545-44 in Little, Brown Handbook.
strategies to avoid misused words
Strategies to Avoid Misused Words
  • Proofread carefully!
    • You can’t count on spell-check to catch these words.
  • Use a dictionary.
    • Look up the words you aren’t sure about; don’t guess!
  • Develop a personal list of words you often confuse!
    • Consult your list and double-check for these words before turning in any assignment.
spelling
Spelling
  • Misspelled words are considered a serious error in writing.
  • Spelling errors leave a bad impression; you are and will continue to be judged by your spelling!
  • If you want to become a better speller, you must practice certain strategies.
strategies for improving spelling
Strategies for Improving Spelling
  • Watch for certain words that are always spelled as one word.
    • cannot, nobody, anybody, everybody, somebody, somewhat, wherever, worthwhile, anything, everything.
strategies for improving spelling1
Strategies for Improving Spelling

2. Master your own “personal spelling demons.”

  • Create memory aids.
  • Break the word into parts or say the word phonetically.
  • Write the word correctly 10 times.
  • Take a spelling test.
strategies for improving spelling2
Strategies for Improving Spelling

3. Master commonly confused words.

  • If you can master these words, you can eliminate many of your spelling errors.
  • Use your handout as a tool.

4. Learn the six spelling rules!

  • Use the handout on the Writing Room website as a tool.
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