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Why Use Precise Language?

Precise Language or Extensive Vocabulary?

Many memoir writers are under the impression that you need to have an extensive vocabulary to write. An extensive vocabulary can only help you—if by “extensive” you mean many precise words, not just big ones.

Precise words are specific and not vague and ineffective like nice, awful, big, OK. “She was nice” is vague. “She understood different points of view” is specific and precise language.

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“He was awfully big” is vague. You might write instead: “My father measured six foot five and weighed 275 pounds.”

Don’t write: “The job was OK.” Write: “The job was in my field of competence, but its salary was inadequate and its requirements did not challenge me.”

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