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- The Gettysburg Address
Chances are your reaction to the above "quote" is something along the lines of, "No, no, no! You're wrong, wrong, wrong!" And, of course, you would be right. Because Lincoln was not only a great leader, he was a great writer. So instead of beginning his Gettysburg Address with a cold, lifeless number, he opens on a prayerful note with a turn of phrase adapted from the 90th Psalm of the King James Bible: "Four score and seven."
Clearly, Lincoln knew the difference between the almost right word - and, the RIGHT word. A distinction famously defined by Mark Twain some 25 years later as: "the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." With that thought in mind, in today's article I'm going to offer you a few choice words on word choice to help you get more of the right words into your communications. And, make your writing more effective.
Let's start by looking at the sports section of my local daily, The Columbus Dispatch. In a recent story, AP reporter Tim Reynolds describes Dick Vitale's reaction to being voted into the Basketball Hall-of-Fame. Vitale, writes Reynolds, "admitted he 'cried like a baby' upon learning he was induced."
Now maybe Vitale's use of the word baby clouded the writer's thinking. Because induced is so NOT the right word.
Which leads us to today's big (but hardly revolutionary) idea:
For more effective word choice think harder about the words you choose.For example, while it's obvious that Mr. Reynolds made the wrong choice, what about the people who penned these lines?