It’s National Thesaurus Day! Yes, that book that sounds a bit like (and is as old as) a dinosaur can still come in rather useful you know – hence it’s honorary national day title. Keeping your phrases fresh and engaging could make all the difference to your visitors staying on-site, rather than bouncing straight off. And it’s rather easy when you know how.
So, without further ado, dust your trusty Thesaurus off the shelf and utilise these expert tips to make your content sound amazing.
Toughen up your weak verbs
There’s nothing worse than a lazy verb. It’s easy to fall victim to writing limp ‘doing words’ when you’ve been writing the same piece of content for three-hours straight, but the good news is, they’re straightforward to fix. Skim your content for weak verbs and replace with powerful alternatives from your Thesaurus. Here are some common examples:
- Hold – clutch
- Appear – emerge
- Bring – deliver
- Make – tackle
- Understand – grasp
- Made – crafted
Adverbs are words that describe a verb. They’re usually easy to identify as they frequently end in ‘ly’. Often adverbs are redundant, or not always necessary, in a sentence. By switching them out for a compelling verb, you can make your prose punchier and easier to digest.
- The tiger
ran quicklypounced across the landscape.
menacingly lookedglared at her opponent.
secretly listenedeavesdropped while they plotted their attack.
Take control of your adjectives
The right adjectives can boost the impact of your copy. Exciting adjectives stir your readers’ imagination, helping them to visualise what you’re describing. Using sensory words can help paint a vivid picture, convincing your audience to purchase your products or services. Take the examples below:
- The resort is surrounded by ‘lush’ tropical greenery.
- A ‘calming’ colour palette of ‘blush’ peachy tones will transform your space into a tranquil retreat.
- Snuggle up next to a ‘crackling’ wood-burning fire and lap up ‘leafy’ views through the window.
Replace negatives with positives
Instead of describing what something can’t do, describe what it can do. Your readers can detect negativity in your writing from a mile off. Positive words make your copy friendlier and highly engaging to read. Grab your Thesaurus and replace words such as ‘can’t’, ‘shouldn’t’, ‘won’t’, ‘not’ and ‘unfortunately’. Look at the difference it can make:
- Not difficult to set up – ‘easy to set up’.
- You cannot access the members’ area without registering first – ‘Register now to access the members’ area’.
- Our engineers won’t disrupt your daily routine – ‘Our engineers will work around you’.
Look out for words such as ‘very’ and ‘really’
A speedy way to spruce up your copy is to look out for instances of ‘very’ and ‘really’ throughout your text. Most of the time, they do you no favours when it comes to getting your point across. It’s easy to write these terms without even realising – make sure to always check back through your finished copy to flag these.. Replacing them with powerful synonyms can make all the difference.
- It was a
very nicelovely day.
- I was
very afraidfearful of what would happen next.
- The hotel felt
- It was an
really difficultarduous task.
- We took a
really dangerousprecarious route.
Use metaphors to convey difficult features
It can be difficult to explain intangible features – especially when describing a technical product or service. For example, the words ‘quality’ and ‘powerful’ are hard to visualise. Metaphors allow you to convey an intangible thing by describing it as a tangible thing.
They provide your reader with a concrete mental image and help amplify the meaning by making the complex simple. They’re also great for capturing your readers’ attention – hence why metaphors are so commonly used in advertising. For instance, ‘Redbull gives you wings’ or ‘Budweiser: The king of beers’. Check out some of our own examples below.
- ‘Tea is like a hug in a mug’ – describes the comforting feeling of drinking a cup of tea.
- ‘The accelerator delivers rocket-like power instantly’ – describes the powerfulness of a car’s engine.
- ‘Our expert-led training sessions will help you climb the ladder to success’ – describes how the training sessions will help you to reach the top of your career.
If your brand provides a complex product or service, a metaphor is ideal. Think about what your product represents to your consumers, and jot down a few adjectives from the Thesaurus. Then brainstorm tangible objects that embody these adjectives to help you create the right metaphor.
Thesauruses can help fuel inspiration, helping you to craft and hone every word with care. Be sure to stick to words that your audience is familiar with though. Fancy words won’t improve your writing quality if your readers don’t understand what they mean.
For more content writing tips, take a look at our article: how to stop writing in technical jargon.