Plays Well With Others

My Friend, The Thesaurus

My Friend, The Thesaurus

I remember when I was in grade school and it came time to write an essay for class, the teacher would always make a point of saying that it’s okay to use a thesaurus to find an alternative word for your essay, but how important it was that the word you choose be something you would have used anyway.

And of course, people would turn in their essays and all these big strange words would end up in the essays. Words that no grade schooler wuld have ever used, but sounded cool in an essay. Well.. at least they thought so.

As I got older, however, I realized how right the teacher was. I mean, the point of writing is to convey a thought or a feeling or information to someone else. A good writer doesnt need to use complex “thesaurus” words to do that because they understand that their first goal is to make sure their readers understand what they wrote. I also find that often times, people who feel the need to use those complex “thesaurus” words have a need to create an illusion that they are more educated or more knowledgable than they really are. From my experience, the best writers are those that write clearly and speak to their readers in terms that are understandable. Personally, I appreciate their effort and the fact that I dont need a dictionary at my side to read them.

Anyhow, its just something that I was thinking about lately. I just feel that a really well-educated person, doesnt need to use words from a thesaurus to convey their personal thoughts or pass on information, unless the word is one you’d normally use in daily life. At least I got something out of my honors english courses in school.

Its not just people who use a thesaurus to write but also those who learn a big word and feel the need to use it in daily life … and then use it wrong. Ugh. Talk about looking like a dumb shit.

Anyhow, just a few thoughts on relying on a thesaurus to make you look smarter, when in fact it usually has the opposite effect. Usually its really obvious that a thesaurus was used, because it sounds out of place when reading the rest of the writers articles. You can just tell that the person has been watching just a little too much “Dawson’s Creek”. Hmm …

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