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Pay Attention to the “Mot Juste”!

Last updated on October 8, 2020

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The Mot Juste (“The Right Word”). Good writers know the effect that the right word can have on the reader. Don’t let laziness get the better of you. Don’t say “The cut on Maria’s elbow became infected.” – rather say “The cut on Maria’s elbow festered.”

Choosing the right word is a task that takes into consideration not only the connotation of the word but additional elements such as how it sounds locally (as in the sentence) as well as taken from the perspective of the entire paragraph. The word must come natural.

The word should be recognizable to the reader. Using a rarely used word risks losing your reader and having them detach from the story.

And sometimes the right word is the word you leave out! If in doubt, leave it out! Don’t say “The evil demon approached the boys.” say instead “The demon approached the boys.”.

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