Synonym's for common words

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by ThinkerX, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Valar Lord

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    Overuse the same word and it shows. But, sometimes, reasonable alternatives are difficult to find. Some common examples - at least for me:

    Ceiling: Roof (sometimes)

    Cliff: Barrier, Precipice, Wall.

    Climb: Ascend, Scale, Upward (sometimes)

    Hill: Mound, Rise, Slope.

    Door: also Entry, Exit, Gate, Portal. Sometimes 'Hatch' works. Likewise, 'Gate' works only sometimes.

    Stairs: Ladder (sometimes), Steps.

    Turn/Turned: Around, Curved, Rounded, Rotated, Spun. (all with limitations.)

    Wall: Barrier (sometimes)

    Anybody else wrestle with coming up with Synonym's for common words? Care to share your alternatives?
     
    FifthView likes this.
  2. I have found that some words have many readily available symonyms, whereas for others, synonyms are scarcer. It doesn't seem to correspond to neccesity either.

    For instance, "silence." I feel like there should be at least one other word for this. But there isn't. Thus, denoting breaks in a conversation ("she fell into silence") without being repetitive can be tough. Maybe my conversations just have more awkward silences than most? I probably said "I didn't answer" too much in last night's writing. "Quiet" works, but there aren't many synonyms for that either. I struggle with this describing settings too.
     
  3. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    You could have heard a pin drop.

    Crickets.

    The faint tinkle of her bracelets was her only reply, a nervous fidget as she struggled for words.

    She said nothing, but her thoughts spoke loudly on her face. The crinkles on her nose meant she was preparing for an outburst; she had not settled on the most damaging words.

    ....etc. Hah, some of that's cliché. But sometimes rather than try for a word-for-word replacement, some colorful metaphors and suggestive description can fill that role.
     
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    Very true, for some things. I try to look at places where I don't need to mention a word at all. For instance, if I'm describing someone leaving a room, I might not need to mention "door." This frees up some use for the world elsewhere, when mention of the door has more importance.

    If a wall is specifically useful, for instance when characters are hiding behind a low rock wall at the edge of some farm, I'd just use "wall" probably. But if a character is in a keep, I might say he flattened himself against the rough stone and peered around the corner. (Depends; that one can be hard.)

    Sometimes, finding a more specific word can help to work around common use words. He lay on the bed staring at the wood paneling above him. Or, plaster. Instead of ceiling.

    For verbs like climb, I might focus on other things about the activity. He wedged his fingers into the cracks of the rock face and pulled himself up. He had to move slowly, and when he could find no handhold above him, he edged sideways until he could. The sun had almost set when he hauled himself onto the rough desert grass of the mesa; he flipped onto his back and saw the stars that were emerging from the fading daylight. He breathed deeply for a long time. He fell asleep. (Heh, I make no claims to greatness. Just a quick example. I didn't need to mention cliff there either.)

    I do think this can be frustrating–that's my experience anyway, heh. I wish I had more knowledge of very specific parts of things, so I could use that knowledge when trying to avoid overuse of some words. For instance, architectural terms, geological and geographical terms, and so for. (Ex., mention of "mesa" heh instead of simply cliffs.)
     
  5. Rkcapps

    Rkcapps Mystagogue

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    I live on thesaurus.com even if it doesn't give me an alternative it might free my mind to find a better way to describe something. "Turned " is one of my bug bears too. I used "spun "too. It's an annoying one!
     
  6. CF WELBURN

    CF WELBURN Apprentice

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    shrug and nod are difficult ones for me...
     
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