Choosing our words

Target readership is a phrase often used by those giving writing advice. Who are you writing for? Who am I writing for?

In this instance I am writing for the regular readers of the More than Writers blog and anyone I can entice to read this post by sharing it on Twitter and Facebook. If, when you have read it, you would be so kind as to share it with your own friends and followers that would make my day!

Almost all of us use words in speech and those of us who write use them on paper or on a screen. We may read them back in print. In speech, we may not realise how we choose our words to communicate with the person or people we are speaking to. It is perhaps second nature to use words, which we expect those present to understand. The words we speak to children are likely to be different from the vocabulary in a conversation with a theologian or a university professor. When we write anything for others to read it is particularly important to choose the right words. We are not likely to be present to clear up any possible misunderstandings as can be done in good conversations.

English is a language where many words have more than one meaning. The intended meaning has to be inferred from the context. When writing about Christianity, it is perhaps even more important to consider one’s target readership. The vocabulary used by theologians is not the same as that of the majority of people.

I enjoy playing around with words. (One of my interests is collecting words which sound the same, but have different spellings: homophones. Spot the example below!)

Sometimes I forget what I have jotted down in one of my notebooks and make a surprise discovery. I found the first draft of the piece of writing below when I was looking for something else.

It was a bit of fun to pick words with more than one meaning (homonyms) and construct sentences around them.

I hope you don’t consider me vain to post this. Perhaps you can write something in a similar vein.

Context is Everything

When they went to the seal colony
It gained their seal of approval;
They rubber-stamped it.
They stuck a stamp on a postcard.
It didn’t need to be sealed in an envelope.
The recipient filed it in a cardboard box.
As she sat filing her nails,
Her husband was using a hammer and nails.
He was making a wooden plant-pot holder.
There was a pot-holder in the kitchen
For picking up hot pans
And a pick-up truck outside.
To pick up a pick-up truck
You’d require a large crane.
They watched a crane fly overhead.
It was much bigger than a crane-fly.
Although its daddy also had long legs,
It wasn’t a daddy-long-legs.
Would it be mean to ask what these words mean…
…Or would it be average?

A wooden plant-pot holder

 (I assumed that the reader would know a crane-fly is also known as a daddy-long-legs.)

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Susan always wanted to be a writer.  In 2012 she revived her interest in writing with a project to collect the kinds of sayings, which were much used in her childhood.
Blogging was intended as a way of improving writing skills, but has become an interest in its own right.  Susan experiments with factual writing, fiction, humour and poetry.  She does not yet have a book to her name. Her interests include words, languages, music, knitting and crochet.  She has experience of the world of work, being a stay-at-home mum and an empty-nester.   She is active in her local community and Church, where she sings alto in the choir. She and her husband live in the north of England
Follow her on Twitter @suesconsideredt