Author Tamela Hancock Murray

A Few Little Letters Can Make All the Difference

Recently I heard a great anecdote about one little letter. Seems our pastor did a Google search as he researched the parable of the weeds. He typed in “weed” and, well, let’s just say the topic of dandelions didn’t sprout. He had to add an “s” to find the right type of weed. Don’t try this at home and definitely not on a corporate computer. I assure you I didn’t!

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were dining with industry insiders at a noisy restaurant when an author asked, “Are you taking pictures?” She wasn’t waving a phone, so I knew she wasn’t asking me to take her picture.

Umm, pictures? Did someone (wrongly) say I’m good at photography? Or (wrongly) say I’m an official conference photographer?

We finally realized she meant “pitches” instead. That made more sense. I didn’t feel so bad since my husband also thought she had asked about photography. Again, only a few little letters made all the difference.

When you write, how much effort do you put into finding just the right word or phrase? I don’t mean you need to obsess over every word, only to take care to express yourself as clearly, eloquently, and accurately as possible. A few little letters can make all the difference.

Your turn:

What tools do you use to find the best words for your work?

Are there any words you feel are misused and abused? Which ones?

What is one of the most eloquent sentences you’ve seen?

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