Word Choice

I love thinking about word choice.

Word choice in the classroom

I enjoy when a student discovers a word that captures his or her intent better than a more typical word would. For example, we sometimes start with ‘run’ and I ask a student to think of a time she saw someone run. We soon discover “ran to the bus” is not as nice as “raced for the bus,” and the student is more satisfied because the description is closer to what she witnessed.

Word choice when writing

I enjoy searching for a word when I know what I want to express but the best word hasn’t quite arrived. Last week, I first wrote, “cull the opinions from the constituents,” in a document. Something about ‘cull’ wasn’t quite right. If this had been in a work of fiction, I might have felt OK about the word. Rather, I eventually recalled ‘glean’, which seemed better for the context.

Word choice comic

The cull v. glean thought had a friend and I laughing, so I drew a picture about one part of our discussion:

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