Diction: Introduction

Diction is simply your choice of words. There is no single, correct diction in the English language; rather, different words or phrases are used in different contexts, as in the following example:

Table illustrating the use of different words in different contexts
When communicating with … You might use the word …
an employer oversight
the police accident
a child mistake
a friend screw-up

All of these words mean the same thing—that is, they have the same denotation—but you would not use them interchangeably: a police officer or employer could interpret screw-up as an insult, while your friends at the bar after a hockey game might think oversight is pretentious.

This module explains when to avoid catchphrases and describes the difference between connotation and denotation.

The details

Copyright notice for HyperGrammar 2

© Department of English, Faculty of Arts, University of Ottawa
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