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Through precise word selection, you can increase the clarity of your argument by enabling your readers to grasp your intended meaning quickly and accurately. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that your word choices affect a reader's attitudes toward your presentation and your subject matter. Therefore, you also need to choose words that will convey your ideas clearly to your readers. This kind of precise writing will help your audience understand your argument.
General vs. Specific Words
Almost anything can be described either in general words or in specific ones. General words and specific words are not opposites. General words cover a broader spectrum with a single word than specific words. Specific words narrow the scope of your writing by providing more details. For example, "car" is a general term that could be made more specific by writing "Honda Accord." Specific words are a subset of general words. You can increase the clarity of your writing by choosing specific words over general words. Specific words help your readers understand precisely what you mean in your writing. Here's an example of general and specific words in a sentence:
General: She said, "I don't want you to go."
Specific: She murmured, "I don't want you to go."
The words "said" and "murmured" are similar. They both are a form of verbal communication. However, "murmured" gives the sentence a different feeling from "said." Thus, as a writer, choosing specific words over general words can add description to and change the mood of your writing.
In academic writing, it is important to find a balance between general and specific words. Always using specific terms can overwhelm the reader and detract from your argument. Also, depending on what you are writing, general terms may be more appropriate than specific words. In scientific, technical, and other specialized fields, writers often need to make general points, describe general circumstances, or provide general guidance for action. For example, if you are writing a paper on best practices in business, you may write one of the following sentences:
In the normal course of procedure, it is advised to avoid modifications in hiring procedures after they have been established.
Normally, it is best to avoid changing hiring processes after they have been established.
Both of these sentences make the same statement, but they may not both be appropriate for your paper. Writing with precision helps hold your audience's attention. Making statements too wordy in an argument can be dull for your readers. Think of your audience while writing. Sometimes it is best to keep your writing simple and precise. The more precise your writing is, the easier it will be for your reader to understand your argument. Your objective when choosing words is to blend general and specific words together within your writing when appropriate, ensuring you keep your reader's attention while conveying your message.