How to Choose the Proper Diction When Writing

When writing professionally, one of the most important decisions a writer has to make is what type of diction[1] to use. Diction, is the style of writing used based on the word choice and usage. The type of diction that is used is mainly based on the appearance, sound, and meaning of the selected words the author wishes to use. In writing, diction is very important as it conveys the style of the piece the author wishes to compose; whether it be a conversational direct or intelligent manner, which are chosen by the types of words you use.

In this article, you will learn how to choose a proper diction style for your particular piece of writing. Read on.


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    Start by learning who your readers are. If you're writing to a group of experts or adults, then you should use intelligent language. If the writing is leaned toward adults who have no certain preference or expertise, then average colloquial[2] language diction is best. When it comes to younger audiences such as children and teenagers, including slang and regional dialect can help so the style is easy to identify and understand.
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    Choose your typography. Deciding what type to use is especially important to maintain constant flow and structure in your writing.
    • The first type would be slang or formal slang[3]. This is best used when a writer is trying to convey a sense of conversation or comfort-ability in their piece. The topic would probably be a less serious and softer issue. Also, the types of words used in the piece are mainly ones the reader can easily identify and understand. This excludes complicated sentences and colorful vocabulary (large words).
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    • Some examples of slang diction would be: "He's an awesome pitcher.", "I finished my assignment in just the knick of time.", "She picked up fifty bucks from her piggy bank." A lot of idioms[4] and euphemisms[5] are included in slang diction and it gives the piece a "fun feeling". Using informal language is also acceptable.
    • The second type of diction would be colloquial language which is medium diction. It usually consists of a nice blend of slang and complicated words, as well as some words that take a bit of knowledge to understand. Also, regional dialect falls within this type of diction since some people may know what a certain word means whilst somebody from a different area may not. A lot of times, colloquial language is mostly used in newspaper and magazine articles.
    • Formal or intelligent diction, is the smartest sounding, most complicated way to write a piece. It's mainly used in essays, especially ones centering around complicated topics. To the average reader, it involves looking up certain words and having trouble following the main points and ideas of the writing. Professors, scientists, historians, etc. use this type of diction when writing to fellow colleagues, and very little is this style of writing seen in everyday articles.
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    Carefully consider the arrangement of figurative language. Arrange the words in the sentences by keeping the simple with the simple and the complicated with the complicated to make them flow easier. When choosing the proper diction, you must have a good and steady flow throughout the entire piece of writing. For example, you can't begin the essay with an educated, mature tone and then switch to slang half-way through. The reader may get confused, and the flow will become uneven. On the other hand, trying to connect to the reader with colloquial language while making valid arguments with large, complicated words will make the work sound sloppy.


  • Before writing, always consider your audience first. It helps to know how you're going to write, and who you're writing to so that your piece is understood by that particular audience.

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Categories: Better Writing | Writing