For writers, using appropriate,
specific diction is invaluable.
Effective word choice is very
important.
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Diction refers to the writer’s or speaker’s
distinctive vocabulary style and
expression.
Another definition is the choice of words,
phrases, sentence structure, and
figurative language in a literary work.
Essentially, diction is word choice.
EVERYWHERE!
Remember, diction is word choice. Words are
in everything we write and read.
So, whenever you are analyzing something,
don’t write anything like this:
“The author uses diction to …”
or
“The author’s use of diction exhibits …”
If diction is everywhere, then who uses diction?
Everyone.
What you have to distinguish is the
kind of diction an author is using:
“The author uses concise, military diction to…”
“The author’s use of antiquated diction exhibits the time
period the character is from.”
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Words are appropriate when they are suited
to the subject, audience and situation.
4 GENERAL TYPES OF DICTION
-Learned
-Popular
-Colloquial
-Slang
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Popular words are so named because they
belong to the whole populace; they are often
used in speaking.
Learned words are words used more widely
by educated people.
POPULAR WORDS
LEARNED WORDS
Agree
Concur
Begin
Commence
Secret
Esoteric
End
Terminate
Think
Cogitate
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The term colloquial is defined as spoken or
written language that is informal in diction or
style of expression.
◦ Examples: kind of, a lot, mad, sure, don’t
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Slang is language of a highly colloquial type.
Slang is used by everyone. Much slang is
borrowed from the popular vocabulary and
given new meaning.
◦ Examples: cool, dough, chillaxin, emo, kicks
Although “learned diction” would be the most
appropriate, many inexperienced writers
believe that formality is a virtue and big
words are impressive.
When using “learned diction”, make sure you
truly understand the words you are using.
Often times, writers who try to artificially make
their writing extremely formal end up with an
inconsistent, and sometimes humorous, piece
of writing.
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Denotation and Connotation are two aspects
of diction.
Denotation is the specific meaning of a
word/phrase.
Connotation is the figurative, cultural
assumptions that the word/phrase implies or
suggests.
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You will work in groups of three or four.
You will be given a list of words.
As a group, you must look up the definition
of each word to find the ______________.
You will then identify each word as have a
positive, negative or neutral _______________.
From your list, choose two words to present
to the class and demonstrate your knowledge
of these words’ denotations and
connotations.
Word and Denotation
Connotation
(positive, negative or
neutral)
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Diction Powerpoint - Louisburg USD 416