Posts Tagged ‘thesaurus’

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.

As writers, we’re often told “show, don’t tell” and “Use as few adverbs as possible.” If parts of speech weren’t your thing in school, adverbs are those words that modify or describe the verb (action word) and tend to end in “ly.” In the sentence, “He walked slowly/angrily/quickly/quietly”, the adverbs are all those “ly” words telling how he walked. I’m partial to a good adverb myself, but I’m going to share how you can cut out many of them in your writing.

If you write flash fiction, where every word counts, it’s important to choose only the ones with the most impact and bang for the counting buck. Even if your word count isn’t limited, the right word is a sure way to ensure both that your readers get the idea and to not bore them with too much “telling.”

Enter the thesaurus. A thesaurus contains both synonyms, words similar to the one you’re thinking about using, and antonyms, words that mean the opposite. A printed thesaurus may be a dinosaur, but the digital age makes it inexcusable to not enjoy the hunt for the perfect word. All you have to do is search for “(whatever word you want), synonym (or antonym)” and off you go to the land of more concise writing.

The art of nuance reigns supreme in the search for the perfect word. Let’s look at the simple word, “walk.” Not all walks are created equal and not all synonyms mean quite the same thing.  When I search for synonyms for “walk”, the first entry lists these possibilities (and there are more):

stroll, saunter, amble, trudge, plod, dawdle, hike, tramp, tromp, slog, stomp, trek, march stride, sashay, glide, troop, patrol, wander, ramble, tread, prowl, promenade, roam, traipse

 A child on the way to somewhere she doesn’t want to go, doesn’t glide. She may trudge, plod or dawdle. A soldier probably marches, strides or patrols, but hopefully doesn’t sashay. If you go for a walk in the forest, to relax and enjoy the scenery, you might stroll or, if it’s wet, you may end up tramping or slogging. Aren’t those all more interesting than plain “walk?” And they “show” much more, too.

All these words mean walk, but each means a different sort of walk. By choosing the correct one (and you can find the definition by clicking on the word), you’ll give the reader a more in-depth feel for what’s going on with your character. You don’t have to say, “Joe didn’t want to go to school, so he walked slowly, trying to make the walk last as long as possible.” You can say, “Joe plodded towards school” or “Joe dawdled on his way to school” and your readers will know immediately that he wasn’t looking forward to going there or at least wasn’t in a hurry to arrive.

Using my first example, rather than say, “He walked slowly”, say “He ambled.” But if he walks slowly and unhappily: “He plodded/trudged.” Instead of walking “angrily”, your character could “stomp.”   A person walking quickly could “stride” or if moving quietly, “creep” or “pad.”

Consider using an online thesaurus often and you’ll see your writing improve. Readers will enjoy the richness of your language and who knows? You may even discover the joy of words and the art of nuance.  Improvement is only a short walk of your fingers away.