Choosing the Right Word

WRITTEN March 31, 2012 Author: Rich Atkins

Choosing the right word will guarantee that you will convey exactly what you mean, whereas choosing the incorrect word can sound wrong or can change the meaning of the statement.

  • When do you use “input” or “enter”?
  • What about the difference between “back-up” or “replacement”?
  • How about “fix” or “resolve”?

Ensure that words and expressions you choose will convey the intended message. For example, what do the following sentences mean?

  • I could care less (means that the speaker cares—opposite of what was intended).

  • Hopefully, I’ll see you there (means that the speaker will see you there, and that s/he will be filled with hope).
  • Look at that wind! (Um, yeah!)

Many common expressions are not reproduced correctly. Here are some examples:

  • “For all intensive purposes” is supposed to be “intents and.”

  • “Come down the pipe” is supposed to be “pike.”
  • Mute point” is supposed to be “moot.”
  • “The numbers don’t jive” is supposed to be “jibe.”
  • “Interest was peaked” is supposed to be “piqued.”
  • “Hunger pains” is supposed to be “pangs.”
  • “Daylight savings time” is actually “saving.”

Let’s go back to our subject line. Which is correct, “Chomping” or “Champing” at the bit? Let’s find out from our friends at the Grammarphobia Blog.


This information is from the Improving Communications EFFECTIVE BUSINESS WRITING class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our PUBLIC CLASSES.
Photo Credit – Lyn Lomasi

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