Word Logic

Word Logic
Brenham Writing Room
Created by D. Herring
Selecting the Correct Words
 Avoid Misused and Wrong Words
 Avoid Idiomatic Errors
 Avoid Inappropriate Levels of
 Avoid Inappropriate Tone
 Avoid Inappropriate Connotations
Avoid Misused Words
 Watch out for Homophones—words that
sound the same but are spelled differently
and have different meanings.
 its/it’s; their/there/they’re; your/you’re
 Watch out for other commonly confused
words whose meanings and usage are often
 good/well; lay/lie; affect/effect; lose/loose
 Be aware of your own commonly misused
words and always check for those in your
Avoid Wrong Words
 Avoid using words that don’t even exist.
Irregardless (should be Regardless)
Allready (should be All ready or Already)
Alot (should be A lot or Allot)
Its’ (should be It’s or Its)
 Avoid using words whose meaning
you’re not sure of.
 Unless I get a bank loan, I’ll be forced to
lead an immortal life. (should be immoral)
Avoid Idiomatic Errors
 Some common idiomatic errors
similar with (should be similar to)
off of (should be off)
different than (should be different from)
should of (should be should have)
relate with (should be relate to)
Use Appropriate Levels of Language
 Avoid using Slang—words identified
as nonstandard by the dictionary, as
well as shortened or abbreviated
 Examples: yucky, lousy, thru, info, TV,
fixin’ to, 24/7
 If I don’t get the job, I’ll be bummed.
 My mom is really cool.
 Eventually, I’ll go to grad school.
Use Appropriate Levels of Language
 Avoid using Clichés—phrases used so often
that people no longer pay attention to
 Examples: make ends meet, hard as a rock,
playing with fire, work like a dog
 Your point is crystal clear.
 I feel light as a feather.
 I plan to give 110 percent!
 Raises around here are few and far between.
Use Appropriate Levels of Language
 Use contractions sparingly.
 Always use contractions to avoid stilted phrases
(let’s go rather than let us go).
 Use contractions appropriately.
 A contraction is formed by joining words and
leaving out one or more letters. An apostrophe
is used to indicate where the letters have been
 It’s = it is
 She’s = she is
 You’re = you are
 The apostrophe must be place correctly!
 Doesn’t, not does’nt
 Class of ’06, not Class of 06’
Use Appropriate Tone
 Tone is the voice you use as the
writer of an essay.
 Some tones should be avoided all
together or used very carefully in
order to avoid offending the reader.
 Avoid using Invective (Angry), Sarcastic,
Ironic, Flippant or Cute, Sentimental,
Preachy, and Pompous tones.
Avoid Inappropriate Connotations
 Denotation = dictionary meaning of a
 Connotation = the emotional
associations surrounding its meaning.
 home vs. residence
 conservatives vs. right-wingers
 assertive vs. aggressive
 Avoid using words that have
negative, emotionally-charged
Selecting the Best Words
Vague Words.
Offensive Words.
Sexist Language.
Avoid Vague Wording
 Make your words as precise as possible.
 Unclear: Tom can relate to Jennifer.
 Clear: Tom understands Jennifer’s financial
 Unclear: The thief stole several things from my
 Clear: The thief stole my notebook, my
calculator, and my flash drive.
 Unclear: I like to have fun on the weekends.
 Clear: I like to go out to dinner and to the
movies on the weekends.
Avoid Euphemisms
 Euphemisms are words that sound
pleasant applied to subjects some
people find distasteful.
 passed away vs. died
 under the influence of alcohol vs. drunk
Avoid Sexist Language
 Keep language gender-neutral, as
much as possible.
 Try using plural pronouns, such as “they,”
in order to avoid using “he” or “she”.
 Use gender-neutral occupational titles
 salesperson vs. saleslady or salesman
 police officer vs. policeman