Criteria of Word Choice The list below offers eight factors worth considering whenever you are trying to choose the right Word for a particular context.
Conciseness Some writers make the mistake of believing that the more words they use, the more authority their writing will have. In fact, no readers appreciate having to wade through wordy prose. They tend to give much more weight to economical writing, in which the presence of every Word can be justified. (See Wordy Phrasesfor more information.)
Connotation Be alert to not only a word’s denotation (dictionary definition) but also its connotation—the set of ideas that is associated with it. For instance, psychiatric hospital and madhouse are synonyms, but the former conjures up an image of an organized institution while the latter suggests a den of chaos and squalor.
Familiarity A Word may communicate your meaning exactly, but if your readers have never heard it before, it is obviously not a good choice. Although you cannot know the exact range of your readers’ vocabulary, you can usually make some assumptions about their familiarity with many words. A common foreign phrase, for instance, will likely be understood by a doctoral candidate but leave a junior high school student baffled. The same student may have no trouble with a slang expression that would be meaningless to someone from another country. If you suspect that your audience could be unfamiliar with a word, use a more universally known synonym instead.
Formality You would naturally use a different vocabulary in a note to your best friend than in a memo to your company’s president. The reason has to do with levels of formality. Your friend would expect you to use informal language and slang. The same words, however, might make the company president question whether you take your job seriously enough. Determining the proper level of formality is sometimes difficult. If in doubt, err on the side of formality: Standard words and proper grammar and punctuation are unlikely to offend any reader. (See Informal Words and Phrases and Slang for a discussion of when informal language is appropriate.)
Freshness Your readers’ attention is likely to stray if you litter your work with too many overused words or phrases. Keep your writing fresh by trying to find new ways of saying things instead of relying on trite expressions. (See Clichés for examples of phrases to be avoided.)
Simplicity Almost always, the simplest Word or phrase you can use to make a point is the best. Simple language is likely to be understood by the broadest possible audience. It also has the advantage of never seeming mannered or pretentious.
Sound Even when reading silently, you are sensitive to the sound of words. You hear in your head the way combinations of vowels and consonants flow together. A group of short words will make you read quickly, but you will instinctively slow down when you encounter a series of multisyllabic ones. Be conscious of the rhythm of your prose: Sometimes it will dictate which Word from a group of synonyms will have the greatest impact in your work.
Avoid using vague words. Writing, for example, that a lecture was “interesting” is to say little. Entertaining, informative, or controversial are all better choices because these adjectives provide more precise information. When choosing between synonyms, think carefully about the small ways in which their definitions differ, and select the Word that most closely fits your meaning.
heaven: the place believed to be the home of God where good people go when they die. sky: the space above the earth that you can see when you look up, where clouds and the sun, moon and stars appear. Both of them mean in Arabic "السماء" but: “Heaven” has a divine meaning, and “Sky” has a general or scientific meaning. canal/river: canal: a long straight passage dug in the ground and filled with water for boats and ships to travel along.
river: a natural flow of water that continues in a long line across land to sea/ocean.
garden: The area of land next to a house, where there are flowers, grass, and other plants, and often a place for people to sit. e.g. Our house has a small garden. park: a large open area with grass and trees, especially in a town, where people can walk, play games etc. e.g. Let's go for a walk in the park. among/between: among: in or through the middle of a group of people or things. among the crowd. between: in or through the space that separates two things, people, or places e.g. I sat down between Mary and Sue.answer/reply:
answer: respond to a question: the information requested by a spoken or written question reply: respond to what somebody says: to say or write something in response to what somebody else has said or written • replied that she wouldn't be available to take the job make/do:
make: do something: used with a range of nouns to describe an action, where "make" is used rather than a more specific verb • She made no effort whatsoever to pass her exams.
do: a verb indicating that somebody performs an action, an activity, or a task. It is often used as an informal equivalent of more specific and less frequent verbs, e.g. "do your nails" instead of "paint your nails." • He usually did the cleaning on a Sunday morning. sound/voicesound: something that you hear, or what can be heard, the sound produced by something (television or radio program, film etc) e.g. Did you just hear a rattling sound outside? e.g. We apologize for the loss of sound during that report. voice: the sounds that you make when you speak, or the ability to make these sounds, the quality of sound you produce when you sing. e.g. I could hear angry voices in the next room. e.g. Sophie's got a lovely singing voicefloor / groundfloor : the flat surface that you walk on indoors e.g. The mother is sweeping the floor ground : the solid surface of the earth e.g. We sat on the ground to eat our picnicdoor/gate: door: the large flat piece of wood, glass etc that you open and close when you go into or out of a building, room, vehicle etc, or when you open a cupboard. e.g. can you open the door please?
gate: the part of a fence or outside wall that you can open and close so that you can enter or leave a place. e.g. Aleppo castle has seven gates.
long: measuring a great length from one end to the other, continuing or traveling a great distance from one place to another, continuing for a large amount of time, or for a larger amount of time than usual. e.g. she has a long hair. Another one: Homs is a long way from Aleppo. A long history of success. tall:a person, building, tree etc that is tall is a greater height than normal, you use 'tall' to say or ask what the height of something or someone is 6ft/2m/12 inches etc tall. e.g. he is young and tall e.g. How tall is that building?talk/speak:
talk: to say things to someone as part of a conversation, to discuss something serious or important with someone, to produce words and express thoughts, opinions, ideas etc. e.g. I could hear Sarah and Anna talking in the next room. e.g. Is there somewhere we can talk in private? e.g. She was talking so fast I could hardly understand her. speak: to talk to someone about something , I spoke to her last Wednesday, to be able to talk in a particular language, to say something that expresses your ideas or opinions. e.g. I spoke to her last Wednesday. e.g. He spoke very softly. e.g. Do you speak Chinese?
begin/start: begin: to start doing something , if something begins, or you begin something, it starts to happen or exist from a particular time, if a book, film, or Word begins with something, it starts with a particular event or letter. e.g. As everybody's here, let's begin. e.g. They began a system of blood tests for employees. e.g. 'Psychosis' begins with a P.
start: to do something that you were not doing before, and continue doing it, to begin happening, or to make something begin happening, to begin a new job, or to begin going to school, college etc e.g. Have you started your homework? e.g. The party was just getting started when Sara arrived. e.g. Ahmad starts by explaining some basic legal concepts