Friday, August 18, 2006

Tripping on Words

As a Copy Editor and Web site Reviewer I thought I would share some concepts on writing with you. Let me begin by mentioning that for those of you that hate to write and have found the need to share your thoughts there is hope!

Ghostwriters can effectively create content rich content for your use usually for a very small fee. Look at most all of our President's First Ladies' books that have been written in recent years. Each and every one was written by a ghostwriter. For example I have heard it said, Hillary Clinton's book "It Takes A Village" was written by not one but three ghostwriters. However you don't have to be famous to take advantage of these services. If you do decide that you want to write your own story perhaps you might want to make note of some of the most misused words and phrases so you don't get caught in their snares.

One of the main sets of words that are used ineffectively and improperly I have already used one of in the previous paragraph, that is 'effect' vs. 'affect'. Think of it this way, effect is the thing that causes the action while affect is the end result. Perhaps that will help you keep those two from being entangled.

A wide vocabulary is a repository that pulls together your ideas and generates powerful arguments. Have you ever been in mid thought or sentence and said, "What's that word I'm looking for?" As an author and editor I find myself constantly searching for just the right word or phrase. One of the most valuable tools to employ is a thesaurus. However there are times when even those will fail you. Perhaps you have been looking for a tool to supplement your current source or one that will assist you in understanding the proper usage and definitions.

For the last year I have been using White Smoke. If you would like more information on this wonderful program White Smoke offers a demo at their website at It provides not only antonym and synonyms but definitions as well. Another benefit of using this program, for me, is that you can specify the type of writing you are doing and it will provide you with options that fit that writing style. For example, if you are writing a business letter the suggestions it gives for enhancement and replacement are totally different than if you were to specify your content was for dating purposes. I am certain you will find this tool a valuable resource.

Words should be fun. Learning to use them properly is imperative in the internet environment. Not only spelling but sentence structure are all laid bare as we are limited to the written word for most of our online communications. The right words in the right form written in a well formed sentence can clarify and fortify your message.

Language reflects not only our culture but our ideas. It explains our lives and our life experiences. It is our way of transferring our observations and perceptions to one another. Communication is a two way street. It helps you understand the world and the world understand you. When you use words improperly or even just spell them incorrectly it implies that either you are lazy, misinformed, or just plain uneducated.

Another valuable piece of advice is not to overuse 'big words' just for the sake of using them. I strongly agree with Don Watson's principals clearly stated in his book "Death Sentences". Management Speak (and over usage of unfamiliar terms) will make your listener or reader's go brain-dead quicker than a Sunday sermon. I offer the following excerpt from a book I recently acquired, see if your brain picks up every word and follows along with what the author is trying to express or if, like me, your brain shuts down and your eyes glaze over.

"Not a succedaneum for satisfying the nympholepsy of nullifidians, it is hoped that the haecceity of this enchiridion of arcane and recondite sesquipedalian items will appeal to the oniomania of an eximious Gemeinschaft whose legerity and sophrosyne, whose Sprachgefühl and orexis will find more than fugacious fulfillment among its felicific pages."

In closing I would like to offer one last bit of advice; grow your vocabulary first then practice using the words properly before incorporating them in your speech and writing.


BeaK. said...

Well written Ginger. Very much worth keeping.

I totally agree with your view on this subject.

Thanks for good and useful information.

Barbara said...

Hi Ginger Spice,

I found you here, outstanding, I love it. It is so good to see you here. I read about your blog on WIN.

You are correct about using the right words in your writing. I try to use the right words. Sometimes, my brain goes out on me, and I am left with "what is that word I am looking for" to my writings make sense. It takes time to become a good author. That is for sure, and I am learning so much from you as my Editor.

May God Bless You,


SkinCareGirl said...


Very powerful and useful information! Great article Sister:)

And I didn't realize Hillary C. had three ghostwriters. We learn something new everyday!

Blessings and Much Success!

Ginger Marks said...


Never stop learning. You never know what you will find on the internet. LOL

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog and taking the extra time to leave your thoughts.