“If you want to try a good dish at the restaurant, order the ‘Linguistic Precision.’ It’s not bad!”
What does “good” really mean here? What does “bad” mean? Help your audience. Choose exact words to express your idea. That’s linguistic precision.
“Nice,” “good,” and “bad” are vaguedescriptive words. They don’t tell your audience anything. On the other hand, we can use more accurate substitutes for “nice” and “good.” Say you are sharing information on a business lunch. You can describe the lunch as “delicious”, instead of “good”. Let your listener know that the waiter was “friendly” instead of just “nice.”
If you ask an employee or coworker to “Do a good job with that …,” we all understand that you want a high degree of quality, but “good” in his/her eyes, and “good” in your eyes may be two VERY different things–because the words are so subjective.
Instead, we can say something like: “Be careful with this month’s expense report, making sure that all receipts are submitted with it.” Does this give us a better idea of what “good” is? It certainly does! Also, it reduces the need to explain and redo the work later.
“Can” versus “May”
“Can” is the ability to do something. “May” implies asking permission. People sometimes misuse these.
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