Tuesday, July 05, 2011

How To Craft The Perfect Sentence, Part 3

by CWK

Choose the best word.

Poetry has been defined as, “the best words, in the best order," but every sentence (poetry or prose) should utilize ‘the best words.’

Every word should be “the best word” for its particular place, in its particular sentence.

The choice of words is ‘diction,’ but very often we don’t CHOOSE words at all. We write the word that comes to mind at that moment, never considering whether it is the ‘best.’ Instead of practicing diction, we practice constriction. Words choose us, and make us do their will. So, choose your words wisely. Search for words, and set your heart on them. 

So, choose – as a conscious and deliberate act of selection – the best word, the ‘elect’ word.

Mark Twain, “The difference between the right word and the nearly right, is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”

Note: Novice writers often employ the adverbs ‘very, definitely, really, certainly, seemingly, apparently, basically, etc.’ in lieu doing the work of finding better, stronger words. Too often this is the result of slackness -- adverbial indolence.

Compare the following:

He is very serious.
He is in dead earnest.

This is definitely my favorite book, and I will definitely use this in my life.
I cherish this book, and will keep it with me always.

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