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Words Matter

December 11, 20233 min read

Writers are a strange lot.

The spectrum of eccentricities is miles long and runs the gamut. And, there are a few threads running through the lot.

Writers are more likely to be fierce about the Oxford comma, they have ridiculous vocabularies (I am one of those freaks that looks up words when I don't know the meaning), we know the difference between different dictionaries, and might even have an old, worn, musty, dog-eared version of Roget's Thesaurus lying about. Relics for the museum.

We can be geeks, although we are loathe to confess it.

Words matter.

As a marketer, connotation, and current popular use make a huge difference. I appreciate anyone that understands that.

I used to teach a course on inter-generational communication. Let's look at just one word - Dope.

Great Generation - noun. INFORMAL - a stupid person.

"though he wasn't an intellectual giant, he was no dope either"

Boomers - noun. INFORMAL - a drug taken illegally for recreational purposes, especially marijuana or heroin.

"my dad caught me smoking dope"

Currently - adjective. INFORMAL - very good.

"that suit is dope!"

The words you use in your marketing and sales process matter greatly. Who you are talking to and the context matters, also.

We communicate from our perspective primarily. Not helpful in many situations.

It's important to keep the listener in mind.

We just aren't really paying attention to the words we use, or the impact they are having on the conversation. We've become sloppy.

If you take the time and effort to pay attention to the precise language you use, I guarantee your communication will be more effective.

Do you want people to understand you and not have to explain yourself?

Pay attention to your words.

The creation of The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a fascinating story. I have read several books about it. I'm a fan girl. (read more here)

From the inception of the idea (1857) to publication (1928) it took over 70 years. And now, we have it in our phones, always available. And, we don't use it.

10 volumes, 400,000+ words originally

"I guess there is some personal fascination with the dictionary, but who doesn’t appreciate a well-chosen word, a lovely turn of phrase, or the etymology of an interesting term?"

Yesterday, the Oxford English Dictionary announced its Word for 2023. No surprise really. You could see it coming since January.

"After over 32,000 people cast votes, the Oxford team picked "rizz" as its final selection.

Folks, we've done it again — as a collective, we've pushed the esteemed Oxford English Dictionary into making a slang term its word of the year.

The dictionary again opened its contest up for a vote for the second time ever.

Other competitors for word of the year were "prompt," "situationship," and "Swiftie." The shortlist included "beige flag," "de-influencing," "heat dome," and "parasocial." If you don't know what those words mean, you might want to stop reading and stick to your generation's slang." (full article here)

The original set of the Oxford English Dictionary 12 volumes

As a kid I did read the dictionary and World Book Encyclopedias. Endless fun. And I dreamed of having a hard bound Roget's Thesaurus.

What are you passionate about? a Geek about?

Those are the things that make you super special. Share those things. Write about them.

Passion makes us beautiful.

Until next time...

Angela

The Oxford Comma

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Angela Dunz

Angela calls herself The “Accidental Entrepreneur,” having moved to the San Francisco Bay Area with her shiny new MBA and dreams of being a CMO. Instead, she started her own business. Would you like to be a Thought Leader on LinkedIn? Angela is the #LinkedInBadass sharing her expertise in Business Development, Professional Branding, Visibility & Optimization on LinkedIn. Without a website, she built her entire vibrant business using free LinkedIn! She is a former Rock Climbing Guide and lives in Marin where the hiking and the weather are fabulous. Being from Wisconsin, she is a diehard Packer Fan 💚💛and shareholder.

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