Thursday thesaurus–the art of a better comment

Posted: December 18, 2014 in Blogging, Words, Writing
Tags: , , , ,

Let’s face it.  Every blogger, although s/he loves a “like”, really wants to read some praise-filled comments!  You know it’s true!  Yet how often do you read a post you love or view a photo that you wish you’d taken, yet not really know how best to comment?

Part of the problem is time–so many posts, so little time. But an important aspect of being a good follower is to take the time to let the blogger know what you like about the post.  Every blogger looks forward to reading complimentary comments, but there can easily be so  much more to a comment than “Great post.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying you should never use those two words.  But it’s simple to make your comment just a little bit better and to vary what you write in that comment section.

The obvious is true.  Be specific when mentioning what strikes your fancy. Do you love the twist at the ending of the story or that the story made you feel good? Are the colors in the photo vivid or does the photo remind you of good times in your past? Mention those things and the writer/photographer will love to hear from you.

But you don’t always have the time to comment in-depth. So let’s consider that word “great.” Yes, every blogger wants to hear that you love the post. However, many comments overuse a few words, hence my suggestion that you periodically resort to the thesaurus. The thesaurus is a “great” way to find some descriptive words that not everyone is using. Here’s what a cursory search found:

adj. exhibiting expertise in some activity





Or perhaps something from this list would be more like you:

adj. held in great respect

best ever
cat’s pajamas


hunky dory
out of sight

out of this world

zero cool

(A personal favorite is “the cat’s pajamas”, a phrase my dad used to use and that I have on a cup, although I have yet to use it in a comment.)

Consider also that the internet has the effect of bringing out the superlatives in comments. How often have you read (or said) that something is “brilliant?” Are there that many things that are actually “brilliant?” What do you say if you then see something or read a piece that’s even better?

I’m not trying to discourage you from fulsome compliments in your comments. Don’t we all love a peachy/deserving/zero cool compliment?  But you might consider the thesaurus when looking to praise; if nothing else, so that your compliment stands out a bit more.  Pair the word with something specific and you’ll be the darling of the comment section.  Rather than “exquisite post”, “The colors of the rainbow are exquisite” tells the photographer what you love about the photo.  “Superb descriptions” is more to be cherished than “Superb post.”

For even more useful words in the same vein, take one minute and pop “marvelous, synonym” in your search engine and take note of what you find. Seriously! Try it. You’ll be amazed! And your comments will be the cat’s pajamas.

  1. Ha.. Personally I probably write them too long.. but cat’s pajamas would be great to get. A dashing suggestion with the thesaurus. Janet

  2. Steve says:

    What a fab post. It’s ace! Lol

  3. suej says:

    Great points….I must admit to being miffed when I don’t get more than a ton of likes!!

    • I realize that sometimes a reader doesn’t have the time or inclination to post something longer and sometimes I just like a post but have nothing special to say about it. But I always try to leave a comment if at all possible. Sometimes, though, “like” is honestly all I have time to do.


  4. suejansons says:

    Congratulations! I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! You can find out more about it here

    • Thanks very much, Sue! I don’t usually take the time to do all that goes with the awards, but I certainly do appreciate them and the readers who offer them.


  5. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    Your post was informative, personal and will help many a writer struggling to find the right way to leave an encouraging note in reply to a blog post that moved them. You’ve done a service to the blogosphere with this one, and I hope the ripples of the rock you’ve tossed into the stream will one day tickle your toes as you are wading.

    Lovely work.



    • If nothing else, it’s generating lots of comments, Doug, some tongue-firmly-in-cheek, which is no more than I expected or hope for. You always leave thoughtful posts and they’re much appreciated.

      Merry Christmas!


  6. Virtuoso! Thank you on behalf of all gladiators in pyjamas (aka bloggers:)

  7. Madhu says:

    Ha I confess I am rather generous with superlatives in my comments as companred to my normal speech 😀

    • I find myself using superlatives and lots of exclamation points as well as emoticons, Madhu, something I think can partially be blamed on the lack of face-to-face interaction. I think comments are always appreciated as are “likes.”


  8. brilliant&outstanding :o)

  9. Victo Dolore says:

    Fantastic post! 🙂

  10. Sorry. Today’s post is me-ow. The cat’s pajamas. randy

  11. Did I ever tell you that T sleep with a thesaurus under my pillow? Randy

  12. For a long time (more than a year I think) I removed the “like” button on my blog in order to encourage people to write comments instead of clicking like and moving on.
    A month or two ago I decided to add it again for a try-out period, to see if I got less/more or the same amount of comments (I haven’t noticed any decline in comments) Now I feel more comfortable to click “like” on other people’s posts. Sometimes I like the post/photo and I have nothing to say or I don’t have the time or find the words.

    There’s so many blogs and it’s very time consuming to try to keep up with the ones you follow – it’s impossible to write comments on every post! It’s also difficult to write original/outstanding comments.

    • I had a friend who did the same thing with the “like” button. There were too many people who commented on the lack of it, especially as it’s perfect to use when you want to let someone know you liked the post, but don’t have time to say anything more or just have nothing more to say. That’s fine. Just thought I’d liven up the vocabulary in the comment section. I agree that there are so many blogs and so little time and certainly don’t mind if someone just “likes” my post. I do find it interesting to see how others use “like”. Some use it to show they’ve been there, while others only use it if they really like the post. I always appreciate comments, but realize people don’t always have time and I have the same lack of time.

      Thanks for your comment!


  13. I think putting the effort into writing halfway decent comments is an act of consideration for those you follow and have grown to know and care about. We all know how much work goes into writing a good post…..egad, how awful would it be if it just hung out there “comment-free?” My favorite bit is when the comment thread takes on a life of its own with one comment leading to another to another. Doesn’t happen often but when it does, magic!!

    • I agree! It’s really fun/rewarding those few times when that happens. That’s the reason why I haven’t set my comments to ” Comment must be manually approved “, but instead (to avoid spammers) I’ve chosen the “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” option. It works like a charm and I have no problem with spam.

      The “Comment must be manually approved” option slows down the discussion and it can potentially kill such things as threads starting their own life.

    • Barb, I agree on both counts. Sometimes the comments become as interesting as the posts. Yes, it’s hard to leave a good comment (or any, sometimes) and I always appreciate those of you who do. But I also appreciate that people are taking the time to follow my blog and read or look at my posts and press “like.” Just thought I’d insert some fun…and see how many “Great posts” I’d get from snarky readers! 🙂


      • I was tempted but noticed that I had already been beat to the punch. Story of my life, Janet!

      • It’s nice alternatives to “great post/photo” that you’ve posted here Janet. I’ll admit that I use “great” too often – I guess it’s a mix between lack of originality and the fact that English is not my mothers tongue.

        I’m glad to see that both you and silverinthebarn are also happy with the comment settings.

      • Cardinal, I’m always amazed at the command of English that so many of you non-native speakers have. I wish I spoke another language that well. Of course in the States, it’s difficult to keep up with another language. If each state had its own language, we Americans would all know more than one language as well. 🙂 We also profit from the fact that English is the language of business and more or less and international language for many purposes.

      • Yes, you profit from English being the language of business and international language, but then on the other hand you don’t have your own “secret language” when you’re out travelling (you never know who might know your “secret language”, but you’re almost guranteed that someone knows English almost whereever you travel).

      • great post from one of your “snarky” readers….

        you know you get more bee’s with alphabet soup than you do with honey, honey.

      • Ah, yes, you are one of the snarkiest, Randy! As for bees, I guess it depends if you’re near a hive or not.


  14. billgncs says:

    I think this post makes me fall in love with you 🙂

  15. I often Google synonyms. It’s fun to use more unusual adjectives. This post is phenomenal. 😀

    • I thank you for the crackerjack comment. 🙂 Using the thesaurus is just a lot of fun. There are so many wonderful words just waiting to be set free in the blogosphere or elsewhere.


  16. I always try to find something good to comment on. It takes me forever now to go through my reader but it connects me to those I follow and who follow me. Great post though.:D

  17. Some of us get seriously braindead at the end of the day – this list is a seriously big help! And you are right, having on specific thing pointed out – either good or bad – is a welcomed comment

    • I completely understand. As they say, “Been there, done that.” I always try to say something and for choice, something complimentary. Sometimes there isn’t time or I simply like everything about the post. Perhaps we should all have a file of comments that we could go to and copy into the comment section. It would certainly add variety! 🙂 I’m now thinking that might really work if there were enough varied comments in the file and they weren’t overused.

      Hope your pre-Christmas season is going well and is full of joy.


  18. ms. diplomacy says:

    This is so true Janet. I’m one of the short “commenters”. It is not always a lack of time, but more a difficulty in expressing what I mean. I’ll work on that, promise!

    • Nicola, I had no one specific in mind with this post. A short comment is better than no comment in my eyes, so don’t feel bad about that. And thanks for commenting on the post. 🙂


  19. Laudable guidance. Thanks.

  20. booknerdkim says:

    How hard was it to resist saying, “Great post!” 🙂
    Thanks for this post. I’m having a kind of meta-moment, where I’m writing a comment on a post about how to write comments. At any rate, as a teacher, it’s something I’m always working on with student feedback. The tricky thing is teaching students how to give productive feedback to their peers…maybe they should read this post!

    • I laughed reading your first sentence. Some resist, some give in. 🙂 Feel free to share the post with your students if you think it will help. Productive feedback is difficult because you have to find something to comment on and then write a cogent comment, all without offending the other person. I always try to find something I can comment on positively before moving on to something that needs improvement.

      Love your blog name, Kim, being a book nerd/lover myself! Thanks for stopping and for following. I look forward to getting to know you better.


  21. Lily Lau says:

    I always try that my comments have a meaning, for them to contribute to the post’s wonder! If I just stat it’s great, then the author should be like ah, okay… thanks? Haha!

  22. Honie Briggs says:

    Hoppin’ frogburgers! What an informative post. I’ll work on my comments over the break.

    • “Hoppin’ frogburgers” undoubtedly wins the most creative comment, Honie. 🙂 Always nice to hear from you and I hope your break come soon and that you have a merry Christmas.


  23. The cat’s pajamas….boy, does that date us both! I always like reading your posts and pondering your ideas. How about “good job.” I always like that one. Brilliant, not so much. Sounds too much like a men’s hair product…now that really dates me!

    • Good morning, Janet. I’m chucking about the phrases as they undoubtedly date us, although I just looked up the origin of “the cat’s pajamas” to answer a question in the comment following yours and found it was coined in the ’20’s, in the flapper era. That definitely pre-dates “even” us!


  24. Have enjoyed reading the list of alternatives. Love that phrase the Cat’s pyjamas…. Wonder how it originated?

    • Here’s what Wikipedia says: “A slang phrase coined by Thomas A. Dorgan. The phrase became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s,[1] along with the bee’s knees, the cat’s whiskers (possibly from the use of these in radio crystal sets). In the 1920s the word “cat” was used as a term to describe the unconventional flappers from the jazz era. This was combined with the word pyjamas (a relatively new women’s fashion in the 1920s[2]) to form a phrase used to describe something that is the best at what it does, thus making it highly sought and desirable.[3]

      A report in the New York Times[4] of a publicity stunt by an unknown woman in 1922, in which she paraded along 5th Avenue clad in yellow silk pajamas and accompanied by four cats similarly dressed, may indicate the phrase was already current by that date, as the “cat’s meow” certainly was.”


  25. prior says:

    Hi Janet – I really like the suggestion – even though I still never mind great or just likes.
    But I get what you are saying and I like when you post your “teaching” blogs – like the lie/lay one stayed with me. 🙂
    but two things I would like to add
    first – I think bloggers need to know it is okay to not leave any feedback- and it is okay to even leave a smile face or a like. or not. But I would rather have folks leave a comment once a month rather than feel obligated every time. I also started going through my reader without “clicking like” and while I am sad to not let the folks know I was perusing – it was also freeing to just scroll and read deeper on some.
    the other thing is that I think bloggers need to remember that they might not have instant comments – and that is why I think “great” is okay in my book – even though I get the fresh factor needed and your list of words rocks (superior)…💞
    but to have to go from reading mode and soaking it up to give instant critique or meaningful comment = well no wonder it is hard ! doing this all the time is not needed –
    in closing – great post 0 lol

    • Insightful comments on both the obligations of a reader as well as those of a blogger. I appreciate both “likes” and “great post” as well as more in-depth responses such as you just gave. A reader certainly can’t do that for all posts and I’m as short of time as anyone else. But it’s fun to enliven the comments you do leave, even when thoughtful. Great response. 🙂


      • Prior... says:

        Hi Janet – again! and yes – this is the post I was thinking of as we chatted today via my recent blog tips post.
        And as i read my comment – from 2014 – I see I feel exactly the same way – ad to think I thought I changed over the years – some parts of me are not going anywhere. hahahh

      • What amused me was that some people then commented, “Great post.” I hope they were just being ironic! Some parts of us should just stay as they are. LOL!

      • Prior... says:

        that is really funny – and sometimes I can tell when someone has not even been into the post. Like if they say “nice photo” and there was five pictures.
        Either way – all about grace I guess

  26. Paula says:

    This is a very useful post Janet. Nice of you to bring out the issue. I hope not to get “cat’s pajamas” comment though 😀 Ace read!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the post, Paula, even though you don’t like my cat’s pajamas. 🙂 Although I didn’t mention it, the blogger has to also decided whether to respond to all the comments and in what depth. I do respond to all the comments, but often it’s simply something to indicate I’m glad they like the post and took the time to respond, even with “Great post.” I always appreciate the time and effort it takes to comment or even to read and press “like” if so desired.


  27. storydivamg says:

    Interesting points, Janet. I find that many bloggers are unfamiliar with the etiquette required by online feedback forums. In fact, many who use the forums are not. You might find this article of mine interesting: Although it is specific to critique forums, I do relate the information to responding on blogs as well.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    • Thanks, Marie, I look forward to reading it. From the title, I can tell it’s a serious post, whereas mine was serious, but not completely. I was referring mostly to comments on general posts by people the reader follows, not by those in a place where criticism is expected, such as Friday Fictioneers or a critique forum.

      Thanks again,


  28. Helen C says:

    Good morning, Janet. Believe it or not, I wanted to comment the moment I read your post, but it took me a couple of days to get it done. It reminds me the days we, occasionally, had to write feedback about a coworker when was asked. It took others less than 30 minutes and it usually took me a couple of days to a week. In many ways, I understand what you said and I agree. But as you said, time is not on our side, particularly when one follows so many blogs. I definitely would comment if a post spoke to me (like this one). I also comment when I have fun and enjoy reading the post a lot. Sometime, I comment because I miss the blogger… there are many reasons to comment, but I have to watch the time and make some choices. Sometimes, I don’t have much to say; and sometime what I wanted to say had been said by others. Wow, this is a long comment. I agree what you said and I have to think hard. Thanks. Helen

    • Thanks so much for the thoughtful comment, Helen. I agree with your points and was mostly trying to lighten up the effort of making comments while hoping they don’t all sound the same. I’ve had to do that so often myself that I thought it might help some other people out as well. As for taking a long time to respond, some people would be better off if they took a bit more time before popping off a response. 🙂 Choices always have to be made. Thanks for making the choice to follow my blog!

      Merry Christmas!


  29. maddmombetty says:

    Cool! I like the idea of using a thesaurus. After all, aren’t we, as writers, supposed to be well-versed in such matters?! 🙂

  30. The Rambling Gardener says:

    A peachy post, thanks for the advice. More commenting from me in 2015.

  31. Jude says:

    Good thinking Batman! I often sit here, fingers poised at keyboard, about to make a comment, and think how can I put this? My trusty thesaurus is within reach and I do often grab it. This was a great idea for a post. 🙂

  32. carol1945 says:

    I appreciated that you commented on my blog yesterday, and so I was going to comment on yours about the snow, but I could not find the comment box. Maybe because I have not clicked the follow button yet? I feel that I would rather look at less blogs and really look at them long enough to feel moved to make a comment, even though WordPress has such beautiful things to look at. So many riches, so little time. At any rate, I am going to start following you!

    • Hmmm, there should be a comment box, whether you’re following or not. I appreciate you following, but completely understand about the time factor! I feel that way myself. So if you want to go back and look for the comment box and unfollow, I understand. 🙂


    • Or you may just add a comment in reply to another comment on that post.

  33. […] Janet’s 2014 post (here) Thursday Thesaurus: The Art of a Better […]

  34. Anitaelise says:

    Yes it IS nice to have feedback. It takes time I think, for new bloggers to learn how to comment and learn how to put differences across so they are heard as polite by the reader. This is something that needs constant effort no matter how much experience one has. My participation in really helped me with this aspect of blogging, because the site is designed to help poets comment one each other and has very nice suggestions and guidelines.