Express yourself may have been Madonna’s instructions but it also comes from our parents, grandparents, and especially our teachers. Middle school teachers, apparently, are holding funerals for “boring words”—necessary standards like “said,” “go,” “walk,” “see,” “run”—and eulogizing them with more “sophisticated” words. Splice Today brought this interesting information to us in their article, “Tarting Up the Language.”
While the goal is definitely a good one, words aren’t expendable. There is a place for all words, even “go” and “see”. Thesauri are useful tools to guide, but not direct. Encouraging students to liberally use their thesauruses can lead to lazy writing.
Most people think of a thesaurus as a simple list of words and their synonyms. This is understandable, as some of the synonymies that include “thesaurus” in their titles really are just strictly alphabetical lists of words, annotated with some synonyms.
Melody K. Smith
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