I think a lot of writers are afraid of using a thesaurus.
Or maybe it was just me avoiding thesauruses all those years because I thought I should have all the words in the universe in my head already somehow.
It wasn’t only my pride keeping me from using one. I also avoided thesauruses because one of the biggest lessons we learned in journalism 101 was K.I.S.S.
No, our professors were not trying to be inappropriate.
It’s an acronym for Keep It Simple, Stupid.
What that means, obviously, is to write what you mean and don’t add extra words.
Or don’t keep adding a sentence to over-explain what you’ve already explained.
Or don’t use large words to further elucidate your thoughts.
There is no need to keep illuminating your opinion by adding words that are completely supererogatory or superfluous.
I think you get the intellection I was going for. *wink*
And you can also tell I used the thesaurus for this blog post.
Using a thesaurus can help enhance your writing but it can also make you sound like a pretentious snob, so my advice is to use the thesaurus with care ( or, in other words, caution, guardedness, prudence, or circumspection.)
Using it too much can also completely muddy what point you hoped to get across in the first place.
I don’t use a thesaurus all the time, mainly because I can’t spell the word thesaurus, but also because I try to keep to my old college class acronym in the back of my mind at all times while I writing, even when I’m writing fiction.
Actually, I don’t think there is a need to complicate sentences with voluminous words in fiction at all.
This will go against the KISS rule here a bit, (by adding more than I need to to this post) but after Googling the term and how it relates to writing, I discovered the term was actually used first as a design principle by the US Navy in 1960. According to the not-always-correct Wikapedia.com: “The KISS principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated; therefore, simplicity should be a key goal in design, and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.”
Other phrases associated with the acronym, which could also work for writing, include “Keep It Short and Simple”, “Keep it Simple and Straightforward”, “Keep It Small and Simple,” or even “Keep It Stupid Simple.”
So, the bottom line is that why you are keeping it simple, don’t be afraid to shake things up a bit with your language so you can avoid redundancy in your prose. B
ut at the same time, don’t go too crazy with that thesaurus, okay?