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Editing for Word Choice

Editing for Word Choice

Author: Mackenzie W

Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of editing for word choice.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi everyone. I'm Mackenzie, and today we're learning about editing for word choice. Have you ever noticed that sometimes just one word can change the entire meaning of a message. In this tutorial, we'll learn about the definition of editing for word choice. We'll discuss editing for word repetition, and we'll learn about editing for word choice when it comes to audience, clarity, slang, informality, cliches, euphemisms, and meaning.

We'll begin by discussing the definition of editing for word choice. When I say editing for word choice, there are actually two different ideas that we need to know about here. Editing and word choice. Let's discuss editing. Editing means improving sentences, word choice, and style in a piece of writing. We're trying to make the writing sound better, and part of that is word choice. Word choice refers to the words that we've chosen to use in our writing, and it refers to the impact it has on the writing. It can change the tone and the style of the writing, and it can change the way that the audience reacts to or interprets the writing.

So that means that editing for word choice is when we specifically look for the words we have used, and try to determine if they are the best or most appropriate words for the writing. When editing for word choice, one of the first things we need to do is to look for repetitious words. Often times when drafting a paper, writers will use the same few significant words over and over to describe their ideas. And this can be a problem because it can distract the reader. It may make the ideas unclear, and it may cause the ideas to seem less interesting to the reader.

We need to use a variety of word choices to make the writing more interesting. To edit for repetitious words, what we do is we read through the writing and if you notice that you use the same word more than once, go ahead and circle it. Especially if the words are close together. But do keep in mind that this general rule of word repetition doesn't apply to articles or pronouns, such as the, a, he, we, she, I, you. That's because it's expected that you may use those words more than once.

It's important for us to consider our audience when we're editing for word choice, because the audience drives many of the decisions we make about how to write the paper. We have to think about who our intended audience is. Because we want to use words that appeal to the audience so that we can obtain the most favorable reaction from our audience. We have to think about the emotional reactions, the formality, the appropriateness, and the complexity of the words. Because each audience requires a different type of words to approach that particular audience.

For example, if I'm writing a paper about adopting pets from animal shelters, and I say that there are kittens and puppies who need homes. That's much different than saying there are canines and felines who need a place to live. Or if I'm writing about a vegan lifestyle and I refer to non-vegans as bloodthirsty meat eaters, that elicits a very specific reaction. We have to think about how our audience is going to react to the words we've chosen to use in our writing.

To make sure that we have expressed our ideas clearly in our writing, we need to edit for word choice meaning. What this means is that we need to make sure that all of the words we've used in our writing actually mean what we think they mean. We have to figure out what the meaning of the word is, and decide if that word actually communicates the idea we intended to communicate. We need to think about the denotation and connotation of the words. The denotation is the commonly accepted, sort of, like a dictionary definition of the word.

Then we think about the connotation. This is the reaction that particular word will elicit from the reader. We think about each of these, and it's especially important when you're substituting in new words replacing them for similar words in your writing. You have to make sure that word will still communicate the same intended idea. It's also important to avoid misspellings. Even if you're using spell-check, you still have to proofread all of your words to make sure they are the actual words you meant to use. If a word is spelled correctly, spell check will not catch it even though it might be the wrong word. Keep this in mind when you're editing for word choice meaning.

One of the reasons why editing for word choice is so important is so that we can make sure that our writing and our words are as clear as possible. Oftentimes inexperienced writers try to use vague, overly fancy, or formal long types of words. Old fashioned words, or they even use technical terms or jargon, because they think it makes them sound smarter, more academic, more sophisticated. But in fact, it actually distracts, confuses, and misleads the reader. Our goal for writing is to use words that sound as natural as possible.

We're striving to have clarity in our word choice, and to eliminate vagueness in the words that we're choosing so that the reader can best understand our writing. We want to eliminate stuffy, overly formal types of language. When we're using word choice, sometimes there are some, sort of, old fashioned words, longer formal words, fancy words, or jargon that are the best choice. But we really have to think critically about the words we're using. We do that by thinking about how the audience is going to react to the words that we're using.

In order to edit for word choice clarity, we have to think about the fancy, the overly formal, or unclear words that we're using. We have to pinpoint them, and then we have to figure out a word to use to replace vague, unclear, or overly fancy words. We have to use words that are most accurate for the circumstance. Here's an example of how to edit for word choice clarity. Here we have the word multitudinous, perhaps I say, the reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle are continuously growing. Next I have the word flexitarian. Perhaps I could say, such as eating a mainly vegan diet. Next I say, indubitably. I can replace it by saying undoubtedly. Next I use the word henceforth. I could replace this by saying, from now on.

When editing for word choice, we need to focus on eliminating the use of slang, informalities, cliches, and euphemisms. Let's focus on slang, because slang can be particularly problematic in writing. Slang refers to words that are not officially part of the English language. Slang words could include, for example, I haven't seen that guy in a minute. I need to go to the mall to buy some new kicks. That noob has no idea how to score points in this game. I heard that party is going to be Cray Cray, or let's give a shout out to our coworkers who couldn't be here today.

These examples contain slang words. Words that, although you may know the meaning to, aren't necessarily part of the official English language. They are slang, informal terms for other words and ideas. We need to eliminate our use of slang in our writing. It's still possible to have a unique natural sounding voice without using slang. We need to make sure that we are using words effectively, and slang oftentimes isn't the most effective language choice. It's possible that you can use slang effectively in writing, but you have to have a valid reason for using the slang. You have to justify your word choice in that instance.

When we edit for slang, we're trying to eliminate the slang words or the informalities out of our writing. We need to locate the slang, and we need to find a more appropriate word to replace the slang with in our sentence. Here's an example of how to do so. If we're unfamiliar with digital slang, some of these words may seem out of context. First we have the term log on. Let's replace this with the words log in. Next we have a feed. Let's replace this with profile. Next we have the term unfriend. Let's replace unfriend with the word ignore.

Even though the meanings aren't exactly the same, within the context of the writing, it will communicate essentially the same idea. Next we have the word followers. Let's replace the word followers, simply with the word fans. Next we have the word trolls, they're, sort of, like bullies, and that could be a good word to replace here. And lastly, we have the acronym HAND, which is a form of digital slang that stands for, have a nice day. I can go ahead and simply write out have a nice day, or perhaps I can eliminate it altogether from my writing if I decide that it doesn't add very much value to my paragraph.

In this tutorial, we learned about the definition of editing for word choice. We discussed editing for word repetition, and we learned about editing for word choice when it comes to audience, clarity, slang, informality, cliches, euphemisms, and meaning. One word can change the entire meaning. I'm Mackenzie. Thanks for listening.