July 13, 2012

When Dictionaries and Thesauruses Become Foes

Josh Danns at 1:04 AM 0 comments

Have a habit of always consulting dictionaries and thesauruses for the purpose of making your article sound interesting? If you do, you better start looking for “greener ways” of improving your vocabulary. Stuffing your article with fancy words from the dictionary is a wrong way of improving your vocabulary and your article writing skills.

Why shouldn’t you use them during writing?
  • They interfere with the flow of your ideas

Pulling out “pretty words” from the dictionary so that you can paste them on your article will interfere with some of the ideas you had for the article. You’ll end up being too concerned about writing an article with excellent vocabulary, but in actual sense, your article won’t be getting any justice.
  • There’s a risk of using some words wrongly

It’s very easy for you to use a correct word wrongly when you keep on fetching words from a dictionary or a thesaurus. Let’s take an example of the words “a lot” and “myriad”. Myriad has almost the same meaning as the word “a lot”, but this doesn’t mean that replacing “a lot” for “myriad” is acceptable. As such, a sentence like “There are a myriad of ways of improving your article writing skills” would be wrong.
  • It is a wrong way of learning new vocabulary

I also believe that good vocabulary usually contributes a lot to the quality of an article. However, siphoning words from a dictionary to your article won’t make you a vocabulary guru. When you learn new words in this way, you’ll only be overloading your short-term memory. This means that after a few weeks you will have forgotten most of the fancy words you learnt.
  • “Time is money” applies to freelance writers too

Constantly referring to dictionaries will eat up your time, and as a freelance writer, the more you write, the more you can earn. At the end of the day, you’ll feel tired but content about, but in actual sense, you’ve done very little compared to other freelance writers.

On the bright side, stopping this habit is fairly easy. You’ll need to learn how to write your article without worrying about word choice. I bet that after writing you will have exceeded the required word count due to wordiness, but you shouldn’t worry much about this since you’ll correct this while proofreading. As you proofread, get rid of all the unnecessary words and stick to active voice as much as possible. With this habit aside, you now have room to learn better ways of improving your vocabulary and your article writing skills as well.

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