Diction, Changing Phrasing, and Political Correctness: Guiding Word Choices and Examples

Diction, changing terminology and phrasing, and “political correctness”—these all challenge a writer and editor. Some word choices are made because they are more precise, some because a newer phrase brings with it a new and appropriate nuance, some because a different word choice would smack of insensitivity, some… well the list goes on. What guides word choices—or should, in my opinion—is a combination of what is precise, what is clear and appropriate for the reader and context, and what serves the writer’s goals with the writing.

Here are some examples and my commentary:

Other examples—please send them and I’ll add my own.

© Laura Edlund 2010