Posts Tagged ‘precise words’

Precise words

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Twenty-five years ago at a software conference, I heard a memorable use of words that illuminated how subtle nuances in synonyms can make a big difference in semantics.The excerpt that follows comes from my first book on Software Project Management where I wanted to precisely differentiate between two common synonyms for preparation: education and training.

(more…)

Stupidity Degrees

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Precise words used thoughtfully help you communicate more clearly. Consider three words that most people use interchangeably: moron, imbecile, and idiot. Most everyday usage suggests these three words are just synonyms for stupid. A little research reveals that moron, imbecile, and idiot are clinical definitions of intelligence, or the lack thereof. These definitions are considered obsolete; the words are now used mostly with derogatory connotations. Being a stupidity aficionado, I exercise these words frequently, mostly to describe my own actions. I use them not as synonyms but rather to focus my thoughts on just how stupid I was. Here are their precise definitions: (more…)

Stupidity insight

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Precise words used thoughtfully help you communicate more clearly. Consider three words that most people use interchangeably: moron, imbecile, and idiot. Most everyday usage suggests these three words are just synonyms for stupid. A little research reveals that moron, imbecile, and idiot are clinical definitions of intelligence, or the lack thereof. These definitions are considered obsolete; the words are now used mostly with derogatory connotations. Being a stupidity aficionado, I exercise these words frequently, mostly to describe my own actions. I use them not as synonyms but rather to focus my thoughts on just how stupid I was. Here are their precise definitions: (more…)

Words count.

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

One secret to good communications is to use the right words to say
things as clearly as possible. Instead of choosing the simple word, or the precise
word, too many people opt for the unusual word. (Notice that unusual is self-defining.
What other seven-letter words in the English language contain three “U”s?)
There are good times to use unusual words, and the best communicators make use
of them when they are trying to make a point that requires a precise word. In most
instances, however, the simple word results in the most clarity.