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Do You Write the Way You Speak? (You Should!), Part 2

6 More tips on how to write and speak for the digital world.

By
Lisa B. Marshall
September 15, 2011
Episode #129

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Conversational language has become the language of the internet. So if you’re creating digital content, it’s crucial that you write it in a conversational style.

Last week, I gave you 4 tips on how to write the way you speak. Today we’ll tackle part two of the series with 6 more tips for developing a conversational style.

Click here for Tips 1-4.

Tip #5: Use Strong Action Verbs

Action verbs add color and passion. Often we tend towards verbs of being, which sound passive. Instead of saying “Maria is on the couch” (boring), write “Maria sank into the couch” (much more interesting). Or instead of “The house was on fire,” how about “Flames erupted from the second floor windows.”

Try to avoid adverbs or description words that need a verb to cling to. “Emily put on her swimsuit by swaying her hips back and forth” is not as good as “Emily wiggled into her swimsuit.” The point is, a strong well-chosen verb is usually much more powerful than any convoluted description.

Tip #6 Use Everyday Words

My teachers used to encourage me to use 50 cent words (and develop a big vocabulary). Today teachers might refer to these as dollar words or maybe even five dollar words. However, for conversational content, try to choose nickel or dime words.

So why did I just use the word “convoluted” a few sentences ago? 

To be clear, what I’m suggesting is that you don’t use a long word when a short one will do. I’m not suggesting you “dumb down” your content by selecting simple words even when the best word to convey your meaning is a big word.

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