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Tuesday, July 26, 2016 Colloquialisms

Sometimes, you might think a phrase is “the bees knees,” but it’s actually a colloquialism and shouldn’t be used in academic writing. Aside from being a fun word to say, “colloquialisms” are present in almost every conversation you have. I don’t want to beat a dead horse when I say this, but sometimes colloquialisms can be kinda… cheesy.

The problem with colloquialisms is they suggest a lack of thought and originality. They tell your professor something like this: “hmm, the wording on this sounds cool/hip/means basically what I mean to say, so I guess this will work. Also, I’m tired. Also, I don’t like this assignment. Also, I don’t know what to think about this argument …” When you write “carpe diem” in a paper, it practically screams laziness (unless, of course, you’re writing a research paper about the etymology of the phrase “carpe diem”).

Here’s how to fix the problem: don’t use colloquialisms.

I’ll give you a few examples of getting rid of colloquialisms and making your paper awesome:

  • He “went nuts” over the poster.
    • He beamed when he saw the poster.
  • His outfit was “swag.”
    • He wore stylish clothing.
  • It was “pretty cool.”
    • It was an exhilarating experience.
  • They were “hanging out.”
    • They went to a diner for milkshakes.
  • The “bottom line…”
    • The real problem that must be dealt with…
  • It was a “piece of cake.”
    • The math test was simpler than I expected.

Not only does removing colloquialisms make your word choice more intentional, the phrases above become much more specific. When someone reads the second version of the phrases above, they are much more inclined to understand and appreciate what has been written.

“All in all,” when you make your wording more specific, the chances are that you won’t have as many colloquialisms in your paper.

Posted at 9:59 AM | Comments (0)
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