Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Using The Right Word

We all have those moments where our brains fail us. We know what we would like to say, but the proper word doesn’t come to mind. Writers have different ways of dealing with this, including taking a break, finding something that sounds right in order to move on, asking for others’ opinions, and also looking it up.

I would like to say right now that is one of the best sites for a writer. If you’re ever trying to figure out if you’re using a word correctly, go to this website. Type in the word, and it will give you the definition. Much easier than flipping through a huge book for the same information.

This site also gives you synonyms of the word you type in. Another neat feature that I only recently discovered was that it gives you the time frame of the word’s origin – helpful when you’re writing a historical piece.

Why am I telling you about the amazing online dictionary? I’ve been heading back to the site over the past two months, familiarizing myself with various words. I’ve found myself visiting over and over not because I use words that I’m unsure of, but because my brain simply cannot sort out some similar words.

Affect/effect and insure/ensure are some words that always trip me up. Whatever word I choose, I usually mean the opposite one. And it doesn’t matter how many times I look up the words, I still lose track of which one is the verb and which one is the noun.

If the online dictionary is keeping track of my visits and what words I’m looking up, whoever looks at the records will likely think I’m an idiot. “Looking up ensure again? Really? Didn’t she do that two days ago? It’s a verb, sweetie. Stop checking.”

Surely I’m not the only writer who has a brain freeze when it comes to certain words. Which ones are you always double-checking? Which words make you feel like an idiot when you have to look them up for the dozenth time? Or am I the only writer who can’t keep some simple stuff straight?


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  2. Nope. I blank out when it comes to some words too. I usually can discern between affect/effect...if I use them in a sentence...but when I'm writing with wild abandon sometimes the wrong word sneaks in. My main problem these days, though, is knowing there's a perfect word for what I mean to say, but forgetting what it is. Then I panic and it makes it worse. I'm hoping it's brain overload and not a stroke!

  3. Nice to know I'm not the only one.

    No, it is NOT a stroke!

  4. I have too many that I am embarassed to share! I am the forunate soul that got the easy teacher every. Damn. Year. If I had a time machine I would request the opposite teacher. More work then but so much better for my current writer self!