Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Do YOU Know The Right Word?

"The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." --Mark Twain

I first saw these words on a sheet of famous quotes, tacked to a door in a trailer-office camped on my old college's campus. The trailer was the makeshift office for the English department, until the new administration complex could be built. I remember it all very clearly (except the name of the professor whose door it was!).

This particular quote struck me because of my lifelong fascination with words. It inspired me to include "the right words" in my tagline of "We ferret out the right words for your business!"

There are literally endless combinations between words, across other languages, between dialects, and in various spheres of influence. Everyone uses them differently, and yet there are certain ways in which they must line up to be properly effective. In what way depends on both who is giving them and who is receiving them. The minutiae is emblematic of entire systems of communication between individuals, groups, societies, nations, and even (dare I be so bold?) worlds.

So, next time you're writing something - a memo, a report, even an email to a friend - think about those words you're using. A careful choice is all that's needed to make the difference between your work flopping along like a squished bug...or pounding into someone with the force of lightning.


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