Selecting the right words is an essential part of communicating, whether you’re writing a wedding speech or a technical report. You need to choose words that are appropriate for your subject matter, that pitch your message at the right level for your audience, and words that most clearly convey what you are trying to say.

1. Choose everyday words 選擇日常用詞

It is true that English has a vast and varied vocabulary. However, we mostly communicate using only a fraction of those words. They are all standard, everyday words such as?tall,?eat,?forget, and?good. Those are the words that people are most used to. So, if you use them rather than more flowery words, your writing will be easier for people to read and process.

2. Choose appropriate formal, neutral, and informal words 選擇恰當的正式用語、中性詞、非正式用語

English is very rich in synonyms. But very often synonyms do not mean exactly the same thing. They are used in distinct styles of writing; some are more formal; some are slangy.For example, dozens of words express the idea ‘to steal’, but they are all different. Just to examine three of them:?purloin?is definitely formal, while?steal?is ‘neutral’, that is to say it is neither formal nor informal. But?nick?is definitely informal: you would be surprised to find it in a newspaper report of a crime!

3. Use inclusive vocabulary 使用包容性詞匯

It is important to respect groups in society such as people with disabilities, older people, ethnic minorities, and so forth. One way of doing this is to choose appropriate, non-stereotyping words. In particular, the words you use should be gender-inclusive and not suggest a masculine bias. There are several ways of doing this. For example, when referring to professions it is nowadays standard to avoid words that refer only to one sex, such as?actress?(use actor) or?policeman?(use police officer).
尊重社會不同群體很重要,特殊群體有殘障人士、老年人、少數民族群體等等。表達尊重的一種途徑就是使用恰當的、非歧視性的語言。尤為重要的是,你應當選擇不分性別的詞匯,而不能暗含對男性的偏袒。這樣做的方式有很多。舉個例子,如今提及到某種職業,較為規范的做法是避免使用只涉及某一性別的詞語,如用actor來替代actress,用police officer替代policeman。

4. Enrich your vocabulary 豐富詞匯量

By widening your vocabulary you will have more words to choose from, which means you are more likely to know a word that most precisely conveys your message. Reading is an excellent way to learn new words. However, before you use them, be sure to check the meanings of any words that are new to you in a dictionary!